Chapter 19: There Was a Wonderful Old Chinese Medical Practitioner
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
It took Wang Yao the whole afternoon to make the formula. By the time he left the hill, it was dark already and this one was the easiest to make among all the other formulas.
The next day, Wang Yao got up when it was still dark and went to the hill. As usual, he worked in the herbal field for a while before starting his decoction brewing again. He was going to make a different formula today. He required more herbs and the process was more complicated. It took him the whole day to make it and he almost used up all the herbs he bought.
Well, if it keeps going like this, I won’t be able to finish the task of making five formulas within five days. I have to stay overnight tonight, Wang Yao thought.
He told his family over the phone that he wouldn’t go home tonight, instead, he would stay on the hill. Zhang Xiuying was a bit worried but she couldn’t convince her son to go home. She asked Wang Yao to look after himself while he was on the hill. In fact, this was not the first time Wang Yao stayed overnight on the hill.
Wang Yao didn’t sleep for nearly the whole night, but he was too sleepy to stay awake past 4 am. After two hours of sleep he got up, had breakfast and started to work in the herbal field again.
“Strange, how come nothing happened?” Wang Yao was looking at the area where he planted the moonlight seeds.
After observing for a while, Wang Yao was sure everything was fine in that area. Wang Yao drank some ancient spring water and felt completely awake—his tiredness had gone away. Then, he rode his bike to town to buy more herbs as not much was left. He decided to buy more herbs since he still had three more formulas to make.
“Hey, young man, how come you are here again?” the shop assistant was surprised to see Wang Yao just after one day.
“Of course, I’m here to buy herbs,” Wang Yao said with a smile.
“Buy herbs again? Have you used up all the herbs you bought the day before yesterday?” the shop assistant asked in surprise.
“Yes, almost, so I need to buy more today,” said Wang Yao.
“Jesus, how quick! I hope you haven’t just burned them?” joked the shop assistant.
“No way! I am not that rich. I’m practicing brewing decoctions.” He was telling the truth but the shop assistant didn’t seem to believe him.
“Well, how much do you want this time?” Although the shop assistant was skeptical of what Wang Yao said, he didn’t mind if these herbs were not used to harm people. Worst case scenario, Wang Yao sold these herbs to someone else to make a profit.
“I need twice more than the amount I bought last time. This is the list.” Wang Yao gave the list to the shop assistant.
“That much?!” Although the shop assistant was surprised, he weighed the herbs according to Wang Yao’s list and placed them in a large bag.
“Thank you,” said Wang Yao as he took the bag.
“Did you eat any of the herbs?” asked the shop assistant.
“Ah?” Wang Yao stopped, but he immediately got what the shop assistant meant, “No, I didn’t eat any of the herbs.”
“Oh, good. I wish you good luck!” said the shop assistant.
“Thank you,” said Wang Yao.
Wang Yao went back to the village on his bike. He carried the whole bag of herbs to the hill and then sorted out the herbs before taking a rest. Then, he started to brew the decoction according to the formula. He was extremely careful as he knew he couldn’t afford to make any more mistakes. Even with such effort, he had only made a successful decoction when it was already dark.
This is the third day already! Wang Yao thought.
After a day of running around and making decoctions, Wang Yao was exhausted even though he was quite fit.
When Wang Yao was ready to make the fourth decoction, his mother came to look for him. She smelled the herbs as soon as she came close to the cottage where Wang Yao was making decoctions. She even saw the dregs piling next to the cottage. She found her son brewing in a clay pot as she entered the small wooden house.
“What are you doing here?” asked Zhang Xiuying.
“How come you are here, mom?” Wang Yao was surprised to see his mother.
“Because you haven’t been at home much recently and have been acting secretively. I wanted to see if you were okay. What are you doing?”
“I’m brewing decoctions,” Wang Yao told the truth after thinking for a short while; he couldn’t find any reasonable excuses.
“Brewing decoctions? Who did you learn that from?” asked Zhang Xiuying.
“An old Chinese Medical practitioner,” said Wang Yao.
“Yesterday afternoon, Zexiao’s parents came to our home with a big present. They said they wanted to thank you for saving Zexiao’s life. So did you actually cure Zexiao?” asked Zhang Xiuying.
“Not me, it was the old Chinese Medicine practitioner. He prescribed a formula and made a decoction out of it.” Wang Yao simply made up some old Chinese Medical practitioner and hoped to fool his mother.
“What is the name of the practitioner? How old is he? Where does he live?” Zhang Xiuying was not easy to be fooled. She immediately asked Wang Yao a number of questions, as if she was checking someone’s residential status.
“Mom, I promised him not to disclose him to anyone, even you and dad,” said Wang Yao.
“Just two of us are here. You can’t tell me quietly?” Zhang Xiuying looked around and said with a smile.
“Hey, Mom—I must keep my word!” said Wang Yao.
“Silly, you can’t even tell me?” Zhang Xiuying was annoyed.
“No. I’m sorry. You just need to know I’m not doing anything bad. Please come in and sit down!” said Wang Yao.
As he was speaking, he smelled something burning.
“No! The decoction is overcooked!”
He went to take the clay pot away from the fire in a hurry; he knew he failed again.
“You are not lying to me?” Zhang Xiuying didn’t seem to believe what Wang Yao said.
“Of course I didn’t. Why would I lie to you? I planted the herbs myself. I have to know the effect of my herbs,” said Wang Yao. He couldn’t let his mother know about the mysterious system which had caused something wonderful.
“Do you need my help?” Zhang Xiuying asked.
“No, you can just rest here,” said Wang Yao.
Inside the cottage, Zhang Xiuying chatted with Wang Yao for some time. After making sure there was no problem with her son, Zhang Xiuying left the hill. Wang Yao started to work again immediately after his mother left and continued to brew the decoction. After several successful experiments, he found that the ratio of different herbs and timing of brewing were extremely important. Furthermore, if he added some ancient spring water during the process the success rate would increase dramatically. So, after he watered the herbal field, he intentionally left some ancient spring water to brew the decoction.
“What was he doing on the hill?” Wang Fenghua was smoking as Zhang Xiuying returned home. He asked her as soon as he saw her walk into the house.
“Why didn’t you check yourself?” Zhang Xiuying threw a glance towards her husband, “Your son is brewing decoctions.”
“Yes, he said he has been learning of herbs from an old Chinese Medicine practitioner. He’s trying to brew the decoctions himself. The formula that saved Zexiao’s life was from that practitioner,” said Zhang Xiuying.
“Which practitioner?” asked Wang Fenghua with a frown.
“I asked him but he wouldn’t tell me. He said the practitioner didn’t allow him to disclose him to anyone. How come I have no knowledge of such a wonderful practitioner living nearby?” said Zhang Xiuying.
“Lian Shan is a big town; you can’t have possibly been to every corner of the town, just leave him alone,” said Wang Fenghua.
“Fine,” agreed Zhang Xiuying.
The couple had decided not to bother their son for now. At the same time, Wang Yao continued to work on the hill at night.