The Princess Wei Yang - Chapter 84
The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 84
Chapter 84: Such Evil
1驸马 – title for a Princess’ Husband
2指桑骂槐 – scold the locust while pointing at the mulberry tree. To scold someone indirectly.
Li Weiyang smiled: “What is so bad about Jiu Gongzhu? It’s just asking you to play with her, why do you feel so indignant?”
Li Min De returned the smile blandly. “Members of the royal family are so arrogant, it irritates me.”
“You’re just being biased, Gongzhu might be a bit proud, but she is innocent and happy-go-lucky, plus she doesn’t have any ill intentions. She likes you so much, do you know how many cannot even dream to be in your place?”
“I don’t want people to accuse me of aiming for power and position!” Li Min De frowned.
Li Weiyang couldn’t help but laugh. “You’re so big already, but you’re still so pedantic. What a silly child!”
“To complete great things, one must of course pay attention to the small details. However, this matter is too trivial for us to give much thought to.” Li Min De smiled back.
Li Weiyang was stunned, and curiously remarked: “I am just concerned about you, because it seems like Gongzhu.. could she have the intentions to make you Fu Ma1?!” She meant it as a joke to tease Li Min De, but he was totally stunned. “How did you know?”
Li Weiyang’s lips quirked into a smile, her eyes narrowing slightly. “The moment Gong Zhu saw you, her both eyes lit up. It seems that no matter how old you are, lust is always an issue.”
“What?” Li Min De was shocked.
“Why do you think I’d encourage you to play with her, Min De, you should actually consider marrying Gongzhu ah!” In this way, not only could Jiu Gongzhu escape her sad fate, Li Min De could also have a pillar of support. However, it also meant that Min De could never have a chance to build a name for himself, and remain a mere Fu Ma with no real power.
“I don’t want that!” Li Min De replied directly.
“If you don’t want her, then who do you like?!”
“I don’t like anyone!” Li Min De retorted, but for unknown reasons, his face started to redden.
“Good, then Gongzhu it is.”
“Hey… You’re making a joke out of me ba… Hey..”
At this moment, Li Min De suddenly went silent. His gaze landed somewhere not far from here; Li Weiyang followed his eyes and saw Li Chang Xiao crying and running towards them. She fell to the ground by accident and skinned her knees, which prompted the servants at the side to hurriedly help her up.
Li Weiyang and Li Min De exchanged a glance, and Li Weiyang spoke up: “Si Mei, what happened to you?”
With a face full of tears, Li Chang Xiao lifted her head. Upon seeing Li Weiyang standing in front of her, she immediately used her sleeves to wipe away her tears. “Nothing, nothing, some sand entered my eyes.”
Sand in her eyes? She was not a child, why would she think of lying to her? Li Weiyang did not want to meddle in others’ affairs, but her instinct told her that Li Chang Xiao was trying to hide something.
Li Chang Xiao’s Yatou Yin’er said defeatedly: “San Xiaojie doesn’t not know this, but our Xiaojie here kindly served tea and medicine to Furen. Who knew that Da Furen scalded her tongue while drinking the medicine, and accused Xiaojie of harming her on purpose, and gave a her fierce scolding! Da Furen scolded Xiaojie, but she still said that her own Yatous are not dependable. She wanted Xiaojie to serve her at night, which Xiaojie found it inappropriate. Da Furen then accused her of not respecting her as her mother, wanting to take it easy and refusing to sacrifice her own rest at night, and scolded Xiaojie for purposely agitating her illness! San Xiaojie, you know that our Xiaojie is honest by nature!”
Li Chang Xiao heard this, but feared that it would make matters worse. “Do not utter nonsense!” she hurriedly said, and left as quickly. Yin’er saw her Xiaojie’s anxiety and had no choice but to chase after her, without further elaboration.
“How could Da Furen be so evil? She never used to show it on her face in the past.” Li Weiyang muttered to herself.
Li Min De laughed coldly. “This might not be the end of it!” He crooked his finger as a signal, and a guard dressed in black actually emerged from the trees and landed softly in front of him. “Master.”
Having used to seeing Li Min De’s secret guards, Li Weiyang did not feel much surprise.
“Tell me what you’ve discovered from your investigations.”
“Yes. Yesterday Si Yiniang advised Si Xiaojie, saying that Wu Xiaojie had just been targeted by Da Furen, so she should try to save her younger sister’s life; Si Xiaojie took her bedding over to Da Furen’s room in the middle of the night. Da Furen did order her servants to prepare a soft bed for her, but Si Xiaojie had barely slept when she was ordered to fetch tea, massage legs, etc. In a single night, she was summoned around seven to eight times; Si Xiaojie was being treated like a Yatou.
Li Min De sighed and said: “Alright, you may leave us.”
Li Weiyang couldn’t help but shake her head. “Da Furen needs someone to take care of her, she could have asked her Yatous, why would she torture Si Mei like that and take the risk of people accusing her of ill-treating her illegitimate daughter? Isn’t this strange?”
“Perhaps after she fell ill, her personality become odd?” Li Min De thought.
This seemed like a far-fetched explanation, Li Weiyang thought it was more likely that she was venting her rage and anger at Li Chang Xiao, in return for her sister biting off her ear.
They thought that this matter was considered case closed, but who knew on the very same night, something happened. It was unclear how, but Li Chang Xiao broke a jade pendant that Da Furen loved, causing her to get thrown out of her house after getting a fierce scolding.
The next day, Du Mama was all smiles when she came over to Li Weiyang’s residence. “Xianzhu, originally Da Furen did not want to burden you, however, as you know, Si Xiaojie has fallen ill…”
Upon hearing the news, Li Weiyang smiled blandly. “Oh, is it? I wonder what instructions Muqin has for me?”
“Furen would like to request for Xianzhu to take care of her when she is sick.” Du Mama lowered her eyes and said respectfully.
Li Weiyang simply nodded and agreed. “It is only right, I will be there in a moment.”
The moment Du Mama left, Li Min De exploded in anger. “Sanjie, Da Furen is too much, you should show her what you’re made of!”
Ever since San Furen passed away, Da Furen had constantly targeted Li Weiyang. Li Min De gritted his teeth in anger; if he had known this would happen, he should have scared the life out of her the last time.
Li Weiyang could see the anger and unwillingness on his face, and let out a laugh. She lightly picked up the pot of tea in front of her, and slowly and steadily poured out a cup. “Why do you bother so much?”
Seeing her calm smile, Li Min De felt increasingly unhappy, and said anxiously: “ Sanjie, that witch will surely take the chance to torture you…”
Li Min De was like an ant hopping on a hot stove, almost as if he had words he couldn’t bring himself to say. Li Weiyang cleared her throat, breaking off his original speech. “What you should say and shouldn’t say, have you forgotten?”
Li Min De’s eyes reddened, and he turned away.
Li Weiyang smiled. “In this world, the person who has the ability to bully me does not exist. Since she wants me to serve her, I will do so, but I will not care about the consequences of what happens next.”
After two hours, Li Weiyang was all smiles when she stepped into Da Furen’s home. A Yatou was massaging Da Furen’s legs, and she had her eyes closed. Her left ear was covered by her high collar, partially hiding the wound. Du Mama softly announced: “San Xiaojie has arrived.”
Da Furen slowly opened her eyes, studying Li Weiyang for a moment. She steadily smiled: “Weiyang is here.”
The smile Li Weiyang returned was bright. “Yes Muqin, Weiyang has come to serve you.”
“I know you are filial. It’s time to have lunch.” Da Furen smiled and said.
Du Mama had ordered servants to arrange the food earlier on, and as Da Furen glanced towards Li Weiyang, she warmly came forward with a smile to hold her up.
In front of the Yatous and Mamas in the house, it was as if they were truly mother and daughter.
In a blink, they were in the dining area.
Da Furen used to have her specific place to enjoy her meal; the dining table would be placed at the western side of the main hall, and other than mealtimes, the area was unused. Because she was now sick and unwilling to walk, the dining table was placed at the outer hall instead.
As Li Weiyang helped Da Furen towards the table, Da Furen felt that she actually had the strength to break her wrist bones, and could not help but attempt to distance herself from her grip.
“What’s wrong, Muqin?” Li Weiyang smiled.
Da Furen gritted her teeth: “Nothing”
At this moment, Du Mama had already instructed the servants to carry out the rosewood eight immortals’ table, with three matching stools at the side. Li Weiyang took a look around the room, and her surveillance told her that there were countless priceless antiques here. She couldn’t help but give a small smile.
Du Mama spotted her smile, and asked: “Xianzhu, what are you looking at?”
Li Weiyang slowly replied: “I was thinking, Muqin is indeed grand, the decorations in Lao Furen’s house is definitely not as valuable as the ones here.”
Da Furen grew up in Guo Gong’s Residence, and she had been in control of the Li Residence for so many years, of course she would be wealthy. And not just wealthy, but very much so. Du Mama smiled: “What is Xianzhu saying, the items in Furen’s home is merely common; the real treasures are in Lao Furen’s hall, but she finds it too dazzling and has ordered it to be kept aside.”
“Oh, I see.” Li Weiyang eyed the treasure shelf not far away, filled with countless types of jade items, bonsai, and especially, a piece of suet jade carved into a Magnolia flower; the pure cream color was so beautiful, one’s eyes could drop out just by admiring it.
Da Furen watched coldly, thinking that Li Weiyang was humbled by the sight of her wealth, and couldn’t help but snigger. She knew that Li Weiyang had previously received many gifts from the Palace, but her own collection could be as comparable! She wanted Li Weiyang to realise that with her own status and power, she could not be so easily defeated. She lowered her eyes and instructed: “Let’s get ready to eat.”
A Yatou walked over, with a bronze teapot in hand. She poured half a pail of hot water, while another Yatou helped Da Furen fold back her sleeves.
“You might not know, but your Sijie is really out of hand.” Da Furen complained coldly as she washed her hands. “She has to be instructed before she will do every little thing. Just a few sentences from me and she will drop something, as if she has suffered great humiliation. That’s not how a lady from a great family should behave, and those who don’t know it might think I’ve mistreated her.”
Li Weiyang only gave a small smile, and appeared expressionless.
Da Furen continued: “With her behavior, others will feel that a concubine’s daughter is after all still just an illegitimate daughter, and can never step up to the occasion!”
Li Weiyang just continued smiling, with no sign of acknowledgement, as if she did not know that Da Furen was making veiled insults towards herself2.
Da Furen grew frustrated, and Du Mama quickly tried to soothe her. “Furen, don’t hold it against Si Xiaojie, she was brought up by Si Yiniang afterall. She did not have a chance to learn from Furen, so she’d definitely make some mistakes.” Da Furen let out a sigh, and lifted her hands. A Yatou appeared by her side and carefully dried her hands with a white towel.
“We should invite a Momo from the Palace to discipline her. Weiyang, don’t you think so?” Da Furen stated coldly.
Li Weiyang’s expression was neutral. “As Muqin says.”
The Li Family had always been one of the scholarly families, and their style of doing things greatly differed from those who flaunted their wealth. Their usual dinner did not exceed ten dishes and two soups, but of course, every dish was delicately and carefully prepared.
Du Mama glanced at Li Weiyang, as a signal for her to serve the dishes to Da Furen personally.
Li Weiyang acted as if she did not notice, and remained standing.
Da Furen was unhappy and complained: “Weiyang, when your Dajie was around, at mealtimes, she would be by my side to serve the dishes; that is filial piety.”
Li Weiyang batted her eyelashes, and said: “I am clumsy by nature, and I fear that I might break something.”
“I promise that I won’t hold it against you!” Da Furen laughed coldly.
She had wanted to control her temper, but the longer she had to see Li Weiyang, the harder it became. She would use her position and power as Di Mu to act against her, so as to get rid of the hatred in her heart.
Li Weiyang smiled. “Since Muqin says she will not blame me, I will try my very best to serve Muqin.”
She floated over gracefully, selecting a piece of sweet and sour fish and placing it into Da Furen’s bowl. Da Furen saw the fear and trepidation on her face, and immediately felt better.
No matter how proud this concubine’s daughter was, she was still expected to show filial piety to her Di Mu in front of others. If not, Li Weiyang would never make her mark in Dali! Why did she not think of it earlier; she should have ordered this damn yatou to come before her every day to learn etiquette, and use it as a chance to torture her to death! As Da Furen had these thoughts in his mind, Li Weiyang smiled and commented: “These fermented glutinous rice dumplings are very delicious, Muqin please try.”
She personally scooped a piping hot bowl, and without even blowing on it to cool, dumped the entire contents towards Da Furen. Everyone was shocked, and Da Furen was so stunned that she had no time to react; the boiling bowl of fermented glutinous rice dumplings splashed onto her.
It was summer, and her clothes were thin. Da Furen let out a painful wail; she wished so much for a bolt of lightning to strike down Li Weiyang at this very moment!
An expression of guilt appeared on Li Weiyang’s face, and she hurriedly tried to help Da Furen clean up. Da Furen was thunderously angry and did not move, so Li Weiyang turned to the Yatou who had held the handwashing water and brought the pail over.
It was unclear if she was really flustered or she did it on purpose, but she fell forward while holding the pail of water. Du Mama quickly shielded Da Furen, and with a quirk of her lips, Li Weiyang fell heavily on the ground. A knocked over stool crashed loudly, along with Li Weiyang, who landed onto Da Furen and pinned her to the ground. Du Mama, who originally wanted to protect Da Furen, became a human cushion, which of course scattered her old bones.
Da Furen’s scream became high pitched and pitiful; this knock from Li Weiyang had caused her to hurt her chest area from the impact, and the huge blow induced a genuine wail.
“Xianzhu! Get up, get up quickly!” Du Mama cried out. As Li Weiyang got up, she purposely and cruelly pushed against Da Furen’s ribcage, causing her to cry out again, and nearly fainting from the pain.
Li Weiyang behaved as if she had no strength, and a group of Yatous and Mamas went forward to hold her up. Her hands slipped and grabbed onto the tablecloth, and in a flash, the dishes, utensils, crockery… everything on the table landed noisily onto the floor, stunning everyone. Da Furen was entirely covered and dirtied by the dishes, making her look quite pathetic.
One of the Mamas gasped and went over to help Da Furen up, and Li Weiyang shot Zhao Yue a glance. Zhao Yue forcefully kicked the Mama just as she propped Da Furen up; this kick came out of the blue, and without knowing what had happened, the Mama and Da Furen fell together towards the shelf of treasures. In a moment, the suet jade magnolia, sapphire inlaid enamel vase, plum blossom bonsai, precious rosewood and ivory screen; everything fell to the ground and shattered into pieces.
Amongst the mess, Da Furen sat there, completely stunned speechless after her head had been knocked by these treasures.
Everyone looked at each other over this scene with unbelieving eyes.
Li Weiyang wrung her hands, saying helplessly: “Muqin, I’ve said earlier that I am clumsy, but you insisted that I serve you… Ah, please get up, the floor is so cold!” She made a move towards Da Furen to help her up.
“Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me! Help!” Da Furen forgot about retaining any shred of dignity and shouted as if in pain, her scream going through the roof and making everyone’s hairs stand on end. Du Mama quickly went forward to push Li Weiyang’s hands away; Da Furen’s precious treasures were all broken in that blink of an eye… destroyed! All destroyed! Da Furen’s eyes dimmed and rolled back, fainting immediately.
Du Mama shouted at the top of her lungs: “What are you all waiting for, quickly help Da Furen up and bring her to the bed. Get the physician, get the physician!”
Li Weiyang gave a small smile. “Du Mama, allow me.”
Fear blossomed on Du Mama’s face. “There’s no need to bother Xianzhu, the Nubis here will take care of it, please go and rest!”
Li Weiyang appeared embarrassed, “How could I do just leave like that?”
“Of course! Xianzhu please go ahead and rest!” Du Mama quickly said. This person was a downright unlucky star.
As all the servants were too busy attending to the unconscious Da Furen to see her out, Li Weiyang left by herself, smiling as she stepped out. The sun was shining brightly and she was in good spirits. Bai Zhi worriedly spoke out. “Xiaojie…”
Li Weiyang turned to look at her. “Why, are you scared?”
After the murder that happened at the baths, there was very little that could scare her now, but Bai Zhi was simply worried that Da Furen would not give up so easily.
“Even if I had serve her properly, does it mean that she will let me off?” Li Weiyang said with a smile.
Bai Zhi agreed after some thought, and decided not to worry further.
After teaching Da Furen such a lesson, she should have been humbled, but who knew that Du Mama turned up the very next day. “Furen has given instructions, since Xianzhu is unsuited to performing such delicate tasks, it will be left to Si Xiaojie. But considering that you came here especially to help Da Furen, it won’t be nice to disallow you from doing anything. In this case, the personal kitchen that Nubi is in charge of, Xianzhu could help to take care of Furen’s meals and medicine.”
Li Weiyang raised an eyebrow, meals? Such an important place… She smiled: “Sorry to bother Du Mama, but please tell Da Furen that I cannot undertake such a huge responsibility! What if Muqin was to consume anything wrong, wouldn’t I be unable to rest well at night?”
“Please don’t worry, there is still Nubi to help you. I will not allow anyone to tamper with the food.” Du Mama returned with a smile.
Li Weiyang looked at her awkwardly. “This… This isn’t a good idea.”
“What’s so bad about it? If Xianzhu will not agree, I’m worried that Furen will come up with some other idea. If you accept her suggestion, Nubi can guarantee that I will help you keep an eye on it, nothing will go wrong!”
Li Weiyang said nothing, but smiled.
After the baths incident, Bai Zhi trusted Du Mama, so she lowered her voice and whispered: “Xiaojie, Du Mama is right.” Afterall, Da Furen was her legitimate mother, if she had thought of something else, they might face difficulty in protecting themselves. Right now, with the easily bribed Du Mama, they did not have to worry as much. Even if Da Furen wanted to target them, Du Mama would definitely help them, out of her greed for money.
Du Mama watched Li Weiyang cautiously. “Nubi will try her utmost best.”
Li Weiyang continued smiling, without any hint of agreement or protest.
Taking her silence for consent, Du Mama let out her breath. If Xianzhu insisted on being stubborn, it would be hard for her to report back to Da Furen. “Nubi will take it that Xianzhu has agreed to this.”
Li Weiyang’s smiling face had a trace of strangeness, which Du Mama could not read, but she could only awkwardly bow and leave.
Li Weiyang spoke to Bai Zhi. “You see, isn’t this interesting?”
Bai Zhi did not know what Li Weiyang meant, but she felt worried. “Xiaojie, Du Mama probably only wants us to increase the amount of bribes, Nubi will also keep an eye on the kitchen for you.”
What’s the point of watching? Li Weiyang kept quiet and stayed silent, standing up suddenly. “Yesterday night, Fuqin stayed overnight at Si Yiniang’s manor, is it?”
Bai Zhi and Mo Zhu were stunned, and Zhao Yue was confused as well.
Li Weiyang smiled. “Let’s go, I haven’t paid my respects to Fuqin for a few days now.”
Bai Zhi thought to herself, Xianzhu is indeed weird; for a Yatou who has been by her side for so long, she could not even guess what she was thinking. Shouldn’t she be thinking of how to deal with Da Furen? Why would she choose to visit Laoye? Laoye had never bothered about what was going on in his household, and towards Da Furen, he was especially tolerant. What was the use of Xiaojie going to see him? Despite this her doubts, all these thoughts remained in her heart, because she chose to believe in Xiaojie.
Li Weiyang remained in Li Xiaoran’s study for an hour, and on her return, she saw the physician from Fu Rui Hall entering and leaving. “What has happened?”
Du Mama saw that she could not keep it a secret. “Da Furen’s fall just now had caused her ribcage to fracture.”
Li Weiyang secretly smiled; that was her intention. On the outside, her face filled with worry: “Aiya, it’s my fault for being so clumsy, I have already gone to Fuqin to admit my wrongdoings and he has scolded me for it. Seeing Muqin hurt like this, I feel very bad about it!”
In other words, she has gained the upper hand. If Da Furen had gone to complain, perhaps Li Xiaoran would punish Li Weiyang, but now that Li Weiyang had admitted to her own mistakes, any further comments from Da Furen would be seen as adding fuel to the fire. Also, Laoye hasn’t bothered visiting Da Furen in a long while! Du Mama knew this, and couldn’t do anything else but to smile. “What is Xianzhu saying, Furen has said earlier that this isn’t your fault, you only meant well.”
Li Weiyang’s smile was full of kindness. “Muqin is understanding and gracious. I had originally wanted to pay for some of the damages, since Muqin has said so, I shall not insist.”
Du Mama’s face twisted, but her smile was back in a flash. “Yes, yes.” Her heart was filled with regret; if only she omitted her last sentence, then at least there would be some compensation for their loss, but now, there was nothing to be gained. “Perhaps in your free time, Xianzhu could go around to the kitchens, even if it’s just for show, do at least demonstrate your filial piety. Si Xiaojie is preparing braised pigeon soup for Da Furen every day to improve her health, if you didn’t do anything…”
Li Weiyang batted her eyelashes, and grinned. “Oh, braised pigeon soup, I know how to prepare that. But I’m not very good at it…”
“You do not actually need to personally cook, just let me know and Nubi will prepare the ingredients. You will just have to serve it in person, and when Da Furen sees how filial you are, she will definitely forgive you.”
“Du Mama is so loyal to me.” Li Weiyang smiled.
Du Mama continued her flattery: “Xianzhu only needs to continue taking good care of Nubi, Nubi will of course think of you, and help you advise Da Furen. If there is any movements, I’ll warn you immediately.”
Li Weiyang nodded. “Thank you.” She waved her hands, instructing Bai Zhi to gift Du Mama a red packet.
Du Mama received her red packet and retreated, grinning from ear to ear.
“Xiaojie, we have been giving her money every time, when is it going to stop? This old servant is so black-hearted, everything she does requires payment!” Bai Zhi complained.
Li Weiyang smiled. “A heart that can be bought is definitely not real, but if even money cannot move her, it will become a real problem for me.”
Bai Zhi and Mo Zhu exchanged glances, but were unable to understand what it meant.
“Zhao Yue, come here. I have a task for you to complete.” Li Weiyang waved her over.
Upon hearing her order, Zhao Yue leaned over and Li Weiyang whispered lightly into her ears. Zhao Yue’s eyes brightened, and immediately responded: “Yes, Nubi will go right away!”
Bai Zhi and Mo Zhu were extremely curious, what did Li Weiyang order Zhao Yue to do? But no matter how they pestered her, Li Weiyang refused to answer them.
Li Weiyang never appeared in the kitchens, and not only did she not go, even her personal Yatous were absent. Only Si Xiaojie Li Chang Xiao was truly dedicated, taking care of Da Furen day and night, preparing medicines and soups personally. After a while, rumors started spreading in Fu Rui Hall, saying that Si Xiaojie behaved like how a real daughter should, while San Xiaojie Li Weiyang abused her status as a Xianzhu. She did not stay by Da Furen’s side to take care of her, and neither did she even serve a single bowl of medicine. In a society which placed a huge emphasis on filial piety, it was a powerful piece of gossip; no matter how bad Da Furen was, she was still her legitimate mother and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Li Weiyang’s cold attitude would greatly affect her reputation. Bai Zhi and Mo Zhu were anxious after hearing this, and tried to dissuade her.
“Xiaojie, you had better visit Da Furen for a while.”
“Yes, even if it is for a short while, it would be good if you went.”
“Also, for the kitchens, you should learn from Si Xiaojie how to prepare soups and medicines. You don’t have to do anything, Nubi will help you do it.”
“Yes yes, everyone is now saying that Si Xiaojie is filial, but you are…” Her legitimate mother was ill, and yet she refused to serve her any medicine; such an awful gossip to spread.
Li Weiyang was reading, and of course she understood that these two Yatous’ nagging was because they truly cared for her. However, she did not panic at all, and simply asked Zhao Yue: “Have you completed your task?”
“Yes, Xiaojie, it is done.”
Li Weiyang grinned and stood up. “Let’s go.”
Bai Zhi and Mo Zhu were surprised. “Where is Xiaojie going?”
In the kitchens, there were seven to eight Yatous doing their chores inside, and they quickly greeted Li Weiyang upon seeing her enter.
Li Weiyang was all smiles. “I sent someone to pass on my instructions, are the ingredients ready?”
A smart and adroit Yatou replied: “Yes Xianzhu, everything has been prepared, Nubi will get to work right now. It is smoky in the kitchens, Xianzhu please go back first. Nubi will send over the soup once it is ready.”
“There’s no need, let my Yatous do it. Leave us.”
A few Yatous glanced at each other, revealing awkward expressions.
Li Weiyang lifted an eyebrow. “What’s wrong, are you disobeying my orders?”
They did not dare to say another word, leaving obediently. After the kitchen was clear, Li Weiyang smiled and ordered: “Bai Zhi, you’ll boil the soup.”
“Yes.” Bai Zhi placed the cleaned pigeon into the pot, added water and ginseng and allowed it to boil. She fanned the fire, sighing as she did so: “Xiaojie is right, if you allow those Yatous to do it, something bad will definitely happen. It is better that we do it ourselves.”
Li Weiyang did not reply her, she just smiled.
Mo Zhu stepped forward to help Bai Zhi, and with the two of them, it was all done very quickly.
After two hours, the soup was ready. Bai Zhi used a deep white lotus bowl to serve the soup, and placed it on a tray. She smiled: “Xiaojie, everything is ready.”
Li Weiyang turned to Zhao Yue, and upon meeting her glance, Zhao Yue nodded. Li Weiyang’s smile deepened further.
Du Mama had received news earlier on, and was waiting for Li Weiyang near the door. A few hours ago, a Yatou had informed her that Li Weiyang had entered the small kitchen, but she had yet to reappear. Du Mama sent someone to spy, but San Xiaojie had a highly-trained Yatou, so her spy couldn’t go near the kitchen. She was as anxious as an ant on a hot stove, but Li Weiyang took her time and calmly came forward with her Yatous. She saw Du Mama standing by the door, and halted. “Du Mama, why are you waiting outside?”
Du Mama smiled widely. “Xianzhu, Laoye is coincidentally paying Da Furen a visit, and he is staying for dinner. He’s inside right now!”
Li Xiaoran is here? Li Weiyang blinked, putting on a surprised expression. “What special day is it—” In these past months, Fuqin had never stepped into Da Furen’s hall.
Du Mama only offered a smile. “Please enter quickly, Xianzhu.”
Li Weiyang glanced backwards to signal Bai Zhi, who was standing behind her. Bai Zhi, carrying the food hamper, lowered her eyes and followed obediently over the entryway.
Inside, Li Xiaoran was seated at the table, with a slightly pale Da Furen. Her eyes were ringed in dark circles, but her lips were bright red; without even needing to think, it was obvious that her rouge was to hide the whiteness of her lips. Si Yiniang was dressed in a light green dress, standing behind Li Xiaoran with her eyes lowered in obeisance. Li Chang Xiao was on her feet, respectfully serving the dishes for her Fuqin and Di Mu. By protocol, she had no need to perform these chores, but she had no choice as she had to consider for Li Chang Xi. She had to show the highest respect and soldier on.
Li Weiyang showed a small smile and curtseyed in respect. “Fuqin, Muqin.”
Upon seeing Li Weiyang, Da Furen’s facial muscles could not help but twitch, but she tried her very best to control herself, and show a warm smile. However, she did not realize that her seemingly welcoming smile actually appeared strained to outsiders, and almost ferocious. “Weiyang, weren’t you having dinner in your own rooms? Why have you come here?”
She was plainly asking the obvious; wasn’t it you who wanted me to deliver the braised pigeon soup, Li Weiyang thought to herself, but her face betrayed no trace of her emotions. “Weiyang has brought the braised pigeon soup for the both of you. The soup has been boiling for very long, and in it, there are wolfberries, huangling, danggui, duzhong, and other Chinese herbs to boost one’s health. Muqin, please enjoy it.”
Da Furen smiled and nodded. “Hmn, you are indeed a filial child.”
Li Weiyang only smiled amicably. A Yatou appeared to take the food hamper from Bai Zhi, and retrieved the bowl of soup from the box. Steam was rising out from the bowl, emanating a delicious fragrance. “Come, let me taste it first, and see how Weiyang’s cooking skill is.”
Li Chang Xiao hurriedly retrieved the soup bowl delicately carved with lotuses, scooped out a portion each for Da Furen and Li Xiaoran, and carefully brought it in front of them. Li Xiaoran turned around to glance at Si Yiniang: “It has been hard on you these few days.”
“Furen’s good health is a blessing, there is nothing to complain about.” Si Yiniang replied.
Li Chang Xiao’s eyes reddened involuntarily, as she thought about how she was being treated like a servant by Da Furen, and yet could not utter half a word of complaint as it would be seen as disrespect. She felt extremely upset and wronged, and lifted her eyes towards Li Weiyang to seek out some solace and mutual comfort. However, Li Weiyang kept her eyes on the bowls of soup, not paying her any attention at all.
Li Weiyang watched as Da Furen gently filled up a spoonful and slowly brought it to her lips. As she was about to swallow, Du Mama suddenly rushed up and grabbed the bowl, flinging it away.
Everyone was shocked and stunned at this scene.
Da Furen was in a rage, shouting with fury: “Lao Nucai, have you gone mad!”
Du Mama fell on her knees to the floor, crying out pitifully: “Furen, Nucai has done wrong!”
In her fit of anger, Da Furen’s eyes concealed a sense of triumph, and the corners of her lips were trembling with anticipation.
Li Xiaoran’s face had changed to a thunderous expression. “Du Mama, what is wrong with you! Have you lost your mind?!”
Du Mama wailed loudly: “Furen, Nubi originally did not want to say anything, but I have no choice now!”
Everyone was bewildered, as they did not know why Du Mama suddenly had such an outburst of tears, as if she had suffered a lot of pain.
Li Weiyang spoke calmly. “Du Mama, Fuqin Muqin are having their meal, even if you had something to report, you shouldn’t have disturbed them. Having followed Muqin for so many years, don’t you know the rules by now?”
Du Mama jerked back, lifting her head and staring at Li Weiyang with anger and hatred. This contrasted starkly with the usual respectful attitude she presented. Bai Zhi was stunned, and felt a rush of discomfort, as if something bad was about to happen.
She was right. Du Mama shouted: “Xianzhu, are you feeling guilty now? Are you afraid that I will reveal all the dirty deeds that you have done?! Nubi is telling you now, Nubi must have been blind and dumb to have listened to you to harm Da Furen. Now Nubi has realized my own mistake, and even if I have to die, I will not let your evil plan succeed!”
Bai Zhi stepped forward quickly: “Du Mama, what nonsense are you spouting!”
Li Weiyang waved her away, laughing coldly in front of everyone present. “Let her continue.”
“Laoye, Furen, there is something in that braised pigeon soup, if Furen were to drink it, I fear that she would collapse immediately!”
Those present in the hall gazed uncomprehendingly at Du Mama, even Li Xiaoran could not believe his ears!
Da Furen immediately followed up. “Du Mama, do you know what you’re saying?!”
Du Mama went silent, keeping her head low and furiously kowtowing to Da Furen. “Nubi is wrong, Nubi is wrong! Furen please forgive me!”
Da Furen frowned: “Since you have realized your mistake, you should tell us the entire truth. You’ve only said half of the story, so how did you expect us to believe you! Do you want the real culprit to escape judgement?”
Upon wearing this, Du Mama could not stop trembling. She lifted her head slowly to glance at Da Furen, and looked around the room.
“Yes! Nubi will reveal everything, the medicine in the braised pigeon soup was added in by Xianzhu’s Yatou on her orders. Nubi knew about this, but Xianzhu offered me with five hundred taels of gold and I was tempted in that moment of weakness, so I agreed to keep quiet!” Du Mama burst out crying.
Li Xiaoran’s expression turned thunderous, he brought his fist down hard on the table: “Your mouth is spouting nonsense!”
Du Mama’s face was smeared with tears and snot. “Nubi does not dare to lie, if Laoye does not believe me, please test the soup!”
“Here, test the soup!” Li Xiaoran ordered his servants sternly.
Li Weiyang studied Du Mama, a cold smile hovering deep in her heart; everything has come to this moment! She first brought up the past to make it seem like she had been bought over, then made use of Wu Xiaojie and the scorpion incident to gain trust, all to bring her down at this moment!
One of the Mamas took out a silver needle and dipped it into Li Xiaoran’s soup bowl, and in an instant, the silver turned black. Li Xiaoran’s expression became even blacker, and behind him, Si Yiniang exclaimed: “Oh god, it really is poisoned!”
Li Weiyang was deep in thought, along the way, there was no one else who touched the soup, unless… she glanced at the bowl. That’s right, Da Furen had sabotaged the bowl itself. If anyone was to test for poison, they would definitely test something that had been brought from the outside, and not an item that Da Furen originally owned. Nobody would think that Da Furen would make use of this blind spot to accuse Li Weiyang.
Du Mama shouted loudly, “And the gold, the gold that Xianzhu had bribed Nubi with, I have not touched a single cent of it, and it is all hidden in a secret compartment under my bed! Laoye Furen can send someone to check, Nubi’s salary is limited, unless it was given by Xianzhu, I could never have had that amount!”
Up till this point, everyone could believe Du Mama, as she had both witnesses and physical proof!
Editor: Panisa (In Progress)