When he saw that Jun Qing was swaying and could not even stand with the help of two people, Wei Zhao picked him up without saying a word and carried him back to the bed to lie down.
Dr. Liu stepped forward to check the pulse. His face didn’t look good; he stretched out his hand again and probed Jun Qing’s belly that was hardening from time to time. He didn’t speak for a long time.
Wei Zhao looked at the change in Dr. Liu’s face and felt somewhat uneasy. Could it be that the situation was not good? But since Dr. Liu didn’t say anything, he couldn’t ask questions.
After pondering for a moment, Dr. Liu said slowly: “Master Hou’s contractions are weak, and the delivery orifice opens slowly. It is not possible to continue with dry labour. We need to expedit the labour.” Wei Zhao breathed a sigh of relief and hurriedly asked Dr. Liu to write a prescription.
Jun Qing bit his lower lip tightly, fighting the pain inside his belly. After the wave of pain, he felt as if his whole body’s strength had been drained, and he was limp on the bed, unable to move, unable to lift even a finger.
Guan Yan took Dr. Liu’s newly written prescription for decoction, and Wei Zhao sat down by the bed and wiped Jun Qing’s sweat with a clean cloth.
When Dr. Liu came over, Wei Zhao thought he was going to check Jun Qing’s pulse, so he got out of the way a little bit. Who knew that Dr. Liu didn’t take Jun Qing’s hand, but opened the quilt to examine his body.
Jun Qing’s face flushed slightly, and he whispered, “You turn away first…”
Wei Zhao was speechless. He and Jun Qing had lived side by side since they were three years old. They slept in one bed, ate from one bowl, and took a bath in one bathtub… They knew the moles on each other’s bodies; what was there that couldn’t be seen?
However, Jun Qing just kept staring at him and wouldn’t let Dr. Liu check him if Wei Zhao didn’t turn away. Wei Zhao had no choice, sighed and turned, standing with his back to the bed.
Before Dr. Liu finished the examination, there was another contraction in Jun Qing’s abdomen. He was panting unsteadily, trying to adjust his breathing so as not to let himself groan.
Wei Zhao listened to Jun Qing’s heavy breathing, and unconsciously thought of the time when he gave birth to Wei Chongrong. If Ji Xin were healthy, he would have definitely let him accompany Jun Qing and would have hidden far away himself. Otherwise, if he stayed any longer, he felt that his own belly was going to ache.
The birth-expediting medicine was quickly decocted, and it was almost immediately effective when it was taken. The baby struggled hard in the limited space, stretching the skin of Jun Qing’s abdomen so tightly as if it was about to crack.
“Ah…” Jun Qing grasped the sheets under him and tried to relax his body, but the contractions significantly strengthened under the stimulation of the medicine. He couldn’t hold back for a moment and screamed, scaring the unprepared Wei Zhao.
When Guan Yan saw this, he was at a loss for words. Did having a baby… really hurt like that? Jun Qing used to be such a calm person, indifferent to anything; but at this moment, he was in so much pain that he didn’t care about his image at all.
Wei Zhao found that Jun Qing’s clothes had already been soaked in sweat, so he asked Guan Yan to change him into new ones. However, when it was time to put on his pants, Dr. Liu said that he would take them off later anyway, so he didn’t need to wear them at all. Jun Qing’s face suddenly turned scarlet.
At first, Jun Qing was a little shy and whenever Dr. Liu wanted to check the opening of the delivery orifice for him, he would tell Wei Zhao to turn away. Later, it hurt so much that he couldn’t care anymore, moaning in a low voice, tossing and turning on the bed.
It took until dawn for Jun Qing to open for two or three fingers. Dr. Liu was a little impatient and wrote a second prescription. The current progress was really a bit slow.
Wei Zhao stayed up for two nights in a row, and he was a little overwhelmed, but they couldn’t be sure that Ji Xin was completely fine and Jun Qing hadn’t given birth safely yet. He couldn’t rest, so he had to grit his teeth and endure.
Just when Wei Zhao was fighting drowsiness, Wei Chongrong’s surprised voice sounded outside the door: “Brother Qingyang, why are you here? Who is that old grandfather, ah?”
Wei Chongrong had Jun Hua on his mind and had come over early in the morning to keep watch in Jun Qing’s courtyard. Just when he got bored, he suddenly saw Huo Qingyang enter the courtyard, followed by an old man with white hair. He couldn’t help being a little surprised.
Huo Qingyang stepped forward quickly, touched Wei Chongrong’s head, and asked, “Little prince, where is Wang Changning? I’ve brought Teacher Duanmu over.”
He waited in Hehua Li for a day and a night, and finally waited until Duanmu Hui came home. Although seven or eight shichen had passed since sunset yesterday, he still brought the doctor, in case the old man had such good medical skills that he could cure “Silent Death” even after twelve shichen.
Wei Chongrong’s eyes widened, and he exclaimed, “He is Teacher Duanmu?” In Wei Chongrong’s imagination, Duanmu Hui should be the same as Shangguan Xiang, someone with a divine posture and sage-like features, but the wretched old man in front of him… the sense of disparity was too big.
Huo Qingyang: ?!
Duanmu Hui: ?!
Wei Zhao instantly lost his sleepiness. He was just about to instruct Guan Yan to invite Duanmu Hui in, when he heard Jun Qing say with difficulty, “Quickly, quickly ask Teacher Duanmu to go, to go to the study…”
Last night, Jun Qing was in so much pain that life was worse than death, but every half a shichen, he asked someone to go to the study to inquire about Ji Xin’s situation, for fear that the poison would suddenly attack. Wei Zhao repeatedly told him that there were people around Ji Xin and if something happened, it would be reported immediately, but Jun Qing still insisted and couldn’t be stopped at all.
Wei Zhao couldn’t fight him and, after making sure with Dr. Liu again that Jun Qing’s situation was still stable, went out to show Duanmu Hui the way.
When he arrived at the study, after checking Ji Xin’s pulse, Duanmu Hui looked puzzled: “Your Imperial Highness Wang Qin, this old man is too old and can’t stand your teasing. Wang Changning is fine, why did you invite me here in such a hurry?”
Wei Zhao was overjoyed when he heard this: “Is it true? Is Xin’er’s ‘Silent Death’ really solved?”
Seeing that Wei Zhao doubted his judgement, Duanmu Hui was a little unhappy, but when he heard him say “Silent Death”, he couldn’t help but get excited and say in surprise: “Wang Changning was poisoned with ‘Silent Death’? Who solved it?”
Wei Zhao didn’t dare to hide it and took out the recipe left by Sun Ye. Duanmu Hui looked at the recipe, stroked his beard and smiled: “This recipe is very good, even if this old man was here, it wouldn’t be better.”
Ji Xin snapped out of his shock and hurriedly said, “Teacher, Jun Qing is in premature labour, please go over and have a look.” Duanmu Hui knew Jun Qing’s physical condition best, and there was no need for him to go into detail.
Duanmu Hui nodded, and the group left the study and went to the courtyard where Jun Qing lived. Even before they entered the door, they heard a low cry of pain from Jun Qing.
Ji Xin’s eyes turned red immediately. If he had known that his poison had been purged, he would have come to accompany Jun Qing last night. Even if he couldn’t help, at least Jun Qing wouldn’t have to worry about him.
Ji Xin took Duanmu Hui into the room. Wei Zhao didn’t follow but put his arms around Wei Chongrong and sat down on the stone steps at the door. Huo Qingyang watched the father and son hugging warmly, feeling that it was inconvenient to disturb them, so he sat on the railing of the porch and looked at them from a distance.
Wei Chongrong raised his hand, touched the blue shadows under Wei Zhao’s eyes, and said in distress: “Daddy, are you very tired?”
Wei Zhao smiled, hugged his son and kissed him, and said softly: “Fortunately, Daddy can still hold on.” Even if Ji Xin was fine, it was impossible for him to sleep soundly even if he went to his room. It was better to stay here and feel more comfortable keeping watch.
Wei Chongrong didn’t speak anymore, just hugged Wei Zhao quietly, but thought in his heart that if Jun Hua was the same as in his previous life, they would have to wait until the 18th of the first month for him to come out, and they would have to endure a lot.
Not long after, a maid brought breakfast. Wei Zhao called Huo Qingyang, and the three of them had a meal on the stone table in the courtyard.
After that, Huo Qingyang said goodbye and returned to the Western Camp. Wei Chongrong practised his martial arts and Wei Zhao supervised. Both of them were a little absent-minded.
Inside the room, when Dr. Liu saw Duanmu Hui, his eyes were full of admiration, and he yielded his position willingly, without the slightest displeasure.
Jun Qing was in extreme pain and couldn’t eat, but Duanmu Hui and Dr. Liu were of the same opinion and forced him to eat. Although Ji Xin felt distressed, he also knew that they were doing it for Jun Qing’s good, and watched silently with tears in his eyes, just about to pick up the bowl to feed him.
After breakfast, a second bowl of birth-expediting medicine was also brought. Ji Xin wanted to feed Jun Qing the medicine, but Jun Qing refused, picked up the bowl and drank the medicine in one gulp.
“Uh…” The contractions came again, and Jun Qing almost rolled off the bed, hugging his belly. Duanmu Hui hurriedly asked Ji Xin to wash his hands and get into the bed to hug Jun Qing from behind, lest he struggle too fiercely and hurt himself and the baby.
In the courtyard, Wei Chongrong finished a set of punches and was about to ask Wei Zhao if he was correct, but saw him sitting at the stone table with his chin propped up on one hand, his head drooping little by little as he was obviously about to fall asleep.
Wei Chongrong immediately shut up, gently beckoned the maids and asked them to put a cloak on Wei Zhao. Who knew that Wei Zhao would wake up before the cloak was brought.
“Ah!!!” Jun Qing’s hoarse cry of pain had changed its tone, and Wei Zhao, who was half-asleep and half-awake, was suddenly awakened.
He shook his head, stood up, and planned to go inside to have a look. Wei Chongrong blinked and looked up at Wei Zhao, unable to tell what he was worried about.
As soon as Wei Zhao entered the door, he heard Dr. Liu lower his voice and say to Duanmu Hui: “There are still only three fingers, and the foetal waters have broken. If it goes on like this, it won’t open all the way until nightfall. Unfortunately, two bowls of medicine have been used and we can’t use it anymore…”
Duanmu Hui waved his hand and motioned to Dr. Liu, indicating to stay calm. He stepped forward and checked Jun Qing’s pulse. Feeling that his pulse was still peaceful, he asked Ji Xin to hold him tightly and applied a few needles to his abdomen.
The swelling feeling in his abdomen became so strong that Jun Qing unconsciously pushed downwards, but was stopped by Dr. Liu: “Master Hou, don’t push, don’t push at all. The birth orifice is not yet fully opened, if you exert force at this moment, the baby will get stuck in the birth canal and suffocate to death…”
“Eh…” Jun Qing bit his lower lip, only to feel that life was worse than death. At this moment, he was no longer simply suffering from abdominal pain, but had to fight against his body’s instincts. The taste of that couldn’t be described in words at all.
Seeing that Jun Qing’s lips were bitten bloody, Ji Xin felt so distressed that he immediately stretched out his hand and said, “Jun Qing, don’t bite yourself, bite me, I’m not afraid of pain!”
Duanmu Hui glanced at him and said leisurely: “Master Wang, if you really want to make Master Hou feel better, why don’t you put a towel in his mouth, at least then he can bite it and vent… Bite you? Can he be so ruthless?”
Ji Xin suddenly had an epiphany and knocked on his forehead in annoyance. Wasn’t that right? If you wanted to bite but couldn’t bear to bite, it would only be even more maddening. He couldn’t let go of Jun Qing, so he hurriedly asked Guan Yan to bring a towel, so that Jun Qing stopped biting himself.
Wei Zhao looked at it for a while, feeling that things were still in order, and then quietly retreated. With Ji Xin and Guan Yan there, there was nothing he needed to do, so he wouldn’t add to their mess.
The two doctors used needles and medicine again, tossing and turning Jun Qing, and fortunately, before nightfall, his delivery orifice was finally fully opened.
Jun Qing slightly raised his body and worked hard according to Duanmu Hui’s instructions. The labour pains were endless, not giving him respite at all. He tensed his body, his wide-open legs were held, and he felt that the weight in his body seemed to have moved down a little bit.
“Very good, that’s it… Master Hou, rest first, we’ll start again later…” Dr. Liu was a full-time obstetrician. He had seen countless births in his life. His favourite type of people giving birth was Jun Qing, who didn’t lose his cool and obeyed the doctor’s instructions.
“En…” Holding on to the towel tied to the beam with both hands, Jun Qing didn’t want to waste his strength, so he tried not to make unnecessary struggles or yell at the top of his lungs.
As the baby continued to squeeze downwards, Jun Qing felt the pain getting sharper and sharper, as if the bones of his whole body were displaced, as if he was in the middle of Lingchi, unable to stop shivering.
Ji Xin hugged Jun Qing’s trembling body tightly and gently stroked his back, his tears flowing down Jun Qing’s neck unconsciously.
Jun Qing eased for a while, turned his head slightly, and said softly: “Xin’er, it’s fine, we all… uh, going to be fine…”
The baby’s head was really too big; even though the position was normal, it was slow to squeeze through. After discussion between Duanmu Hui and Dr. Liu, they decided to press on Jun Qing’s belly. If they dragged it on, the amniotic fluid would run out.
It was another sleepless night, and when it was almost dawn, the big baby finally pushed through the narrow pelvis under the application of external force. Jun Qing’s body seemed to be about to be split in half and his legs were spread to the limit as he let out an unimaginable roar of pain.
“I see the head! I see the child’s head!” Dr. Liu shouted excitedly in the light of the dawn.
After staying up for the third night in a row, Wei Zhao finally couldn’t hold on and took Wei Chongrong back to his room for a nap. As soon as they rushed back in the morning, they heard the good news.
Wei Zhao was so excited that he hurriedly entered the room. Wei Chongrong rolled his eyes, and while Wei Zhao was not paying attention, he followed in.
“Ah…” The labour pains came again; Jun Qing’s abdomen was hard and swollen. He cooperated with the contractions desperately, and the baby’s black head slowly came out.
Hearing Jun Qing’s painful cry, Wei Chongrong felt his legs go weak. He remembered that his nanny said that Wei Zhao had given birth to him for three days and three nights. What a miserable process it must have been, he didn’t even dare to think about it.
Under Jun Qing’s continuous efforts, the baby’s head came out completely, followed by the shoulders, the torso… and finally the fleshy, strong and powerful legs.
The child cried loudly as soon as he emerged. Dr. Liu quickly cut the umbilical cord and announced: “Congratulations, Master Hou, Master Wang, you have a healthy little boy.”
“Woo… woo woo…” The chubby baby waved his hands and feet and celebrated his birth with a cry.
Wei Chongrong covered his mouth, unable to speak in excitement. Dr. Liu examined the baby and only said that everything was normal; did this mean that Jun Hua’s leg was saved?
The focus of everyone’s attention was on the newborn baby, but when Dr. Liu wrapped the child up, no one of them dared to pick him up.
Of course, Jun Qing and Ji Xin were inexperienced and could only look at their son with bated breath but didn’t dare to get their hands on him. Wei Zhao rubbed his hands, but he didn’t dare to hold the baby either. When he hugged Wei Chongrong for the first time, Wei Chongrong was already three years old.
Dr. Liu was dumbfounded. As soon as he was about to put the child on the bed, he heard Wei Chongrong say, “Can I hold my little brother?”
When did he come in? Everyone present had this question in their minds. Wei Zhao’s face almost turned green with anger. Was this a place where children should be? What a lack of common sense!
Seeing that no one paid attention to him, Wei Chongrong repeated: “Can I hold my little brother? I have practised with Auntie Wang’s granddaughter many times, and she said I held her very well.” Auntie Wang was the cook of Wang Qin’s residence, and her little granddaughter was just three months old.
Wei Zhao was speechless for a while before regaining his senses, picked up Wei Chongrong and carried him outside.
“Daddy, I don’t want to go! I want to hold my little brother!” Wei Chongrong’s wail came from afar.
The newborn baby was finally placed next to his fathers. Looking at their son, who was sleeping with his thumb in his mouth, Jun Qing and Ji Xin looked at each other and smiled.