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153 New Perils of the Artis

    It took a few seconds for what the physician said to truly hit.

    And when it did hit, it didn't hit easy.

    Yujia stood up in a flash, her hands clenched at her sides. Her eyes narrowed, eyebrows knitted, and mouth widened to almost a smile of disbelief. "Say that again," she ordered.

    "I'm not certain about it, Young Miss." The old man gave a shaky smile that attempted to look reassuring but didn't come off that way at all. He folded his hands together, sweat beginning to bead at his forehead. He must think of Yujia as some high-status young miss of an important family- and to report something like poison, if the report was false, he would be involved in a mess. "We- we can test it though. It's hard to tell from just the pulse. If this Young Miss is willing to participate and provide a drop of blood, this can be tested."

    Luowei, who stood at the side and heard all of this, walked forward and grabbed Yujia's arm. This movement turned out to be more reassuring than whatever comforting smile the physician attempted to give. "Surely, we must test this," Luowei advised.

    "I... agree." Yujia shook her head though, not in disagreement, but more in shock.

    How could it be? Poison? As if being terminally ill was not bad enough... she had to be poisoned as well? Or was she not even sick in the first place? Could the poison be the true reason for her constant weakness, persistent cough, and dull stomach pain that she experienced on a normal basis?

    "Please have a seat." The physician waved his hand.

    Yujia sat down, her posture now stiffened. She watched with careful eyes as the old man drew from his medicine box a long silver needle, then held out his hand to have her place her left hand on the table. He also took out a shallow and small white bowl.

    "I- I can do it myself," Yujia stated, taking the needle from him. "It doesn't matter where I draw blood from, correct?"

    "Correct."

    Her hands were surprisingly steady as she held them over the porcelain bowl. With her right hand gripping the needle, Yujia pricked the very tip of her pointer finger of her left hand. The needle sunk in easily and exited just as quickly, breaking only the shallow layers of her skin. Red began to swell from the spot she pricked. Squeezing her skin together, a few drops of blood were pushed out of her skin, falling and swirling together at the bottom of the bowl she held her hand over.

    With a sample of her blood now in the bowl, the physician reached in his medicine box once more, pulling out a jade bottle stuffed with red cloth. He pulled the stopper out, shaking out a few droplets of a clear liquid.

    Upon touching the surface of her blood, the liquid immediately dissolved. Yujia stared at what happened next intently- the blood, now combined with the liquid, turned a dark, dark shade of purple-black.

    "This-" she pointed out.

    "With this, I am certain," the physician answered, "Young Miss... I am very, very unhappy to inform you that you have been poisoned, and for quite a long time as well. This clear liquid is made of a special herb that reacts with most poisons. When interacting with healthy blood, there will be no effects. The blood and herb would not even mix. But when interacting with blood that holds traces of poison, it will mix and turn into the black shade you see here. The more poison that is concentrated within the blood, the quicker the color change."

    Yujia stared at the solid evidence in front of her. She considered if the doctor had been lying, but there was no reason to. He didn't know her. What happened just now- the pulse coming out irregular and the blood turning dark- it was not coincidence either. They all pointed to one conclusion.

    She spoke slowly. "Then... do you know what poison?"

    "I'm afraid that this humble physician is not so skilled in poison to deduct the type of poison just from blood. I would have to look and test everything that you have come in contact with, from food to incense to pills."

    Luowei followed quickly, "Young Sister Yujia, what are you going to do about this? You- Lingxin- this is just- not what I expected. I-"

    Seeing how flustered Luowei was becoming, Yujia covered up her discomfort and ever-growing fear, putting on a smile. "It's alright." She couldn't blame Luowei for any of this. Luowei only had good motives in the first place to have Yujia's pulse checked. Who knew that a simple pulse diagnosis would lead to such a large conspiracy? "I'll figure it out on my own."

    Luowei, who didn't know Yujia's past family background, would definitely come to the conclusion that someone poisoned her at Lingxin. But Yujia trusted her master and senior brother, the only two people she really came in contact with. Neither of the two seemed like the type to poison her, or had enough time to do so.

    It was the Yang Household that held the most of her concerns.

    She tried so hard to run away from it, to put some distance to allow herself to discover her true self before reuniting with some of the people in that place. But it seemed like fate was pushing her to return. There were too many things Yujia needed to find out: the truth behind the Fourth Miss, the truth behind Madam Liu, the truth behind Madam Zhang, the truth behind the thievery. And now, the truth behind the poison.

    Yujia leaned her head against her hand. Too many things were coming up, all at once.

    She just wanted to have some time of peace. Just when she thought her life was going to unfold normally, new threats were appearing here and there. Was a month of peace too much to ask for?

    In the midst of her thoughts, the door to the room was suddenly pushed open. A person she knew- Bo Zhiyuan, the Second Young Master of the Bo Family, Zhou Luowei's husband, and her first commissioner- rushed in, heading towards Luowei. Behind him, another person she knew followed.

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    Yu Zixu.
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