The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 77 - Part 1
Chapter 77: Massive Fire in the Middle of the Night
窈窕淑女，君子好逑 - My fair lady, the gentleman is good
沙弥 Shāmí - a young, Buddhist monk
主子 Zhuzi - how servants refer to their master
平妻 píng qī - ping qi are recognized with the same social and legal status and the first wife, even though they may not be the legal wife
1双宿双飞 - lit. stay together and fly together, a metaphor for an inseparable couple, like mandarin ducks
Yan Wangye - refers to Yama who judges the dead and presides over Hell, also known as King Yan or the King of Hell
Tuoba Zhen smiled faintly: “I happened to be passing through, so I decided to stop by and pay my respects to Buddha.”
The corner of Li Wei Yang’s lips inched up, she had a blank smile: “Oh? San Dianxia believes in Buddha as well?”
Tuoba Zhen found her question a bit strange and asked: “Why would I not be?”
Li Wei Yang smiled at the Bodhisattva in the atrium, her lips curving into a detached smile, not giving him a clear explanation.
Tuoba Zhen was frustrated but did not express any of this frustration, continuing to smile as he asked Tuoba Yu beside him: “Do you understand any of Xianzhu’s words?”
In truth, Tuoba Yu was puzzled by them as well. He did not know why he always felt that Li Wei Yang had some animosity against Tuoba Zhen. Perhaps this was the reason why she was helping him. Although between the San Dianxia of the Imperial family and a Xiaojie of the Prime Minister’s household, what kind of enmity would they have with one another? He could not understand any of it.
Li Wei Yang had told herself that in this lifetime, she would not allow Tuoba Zhen to get what he wanted. As for everything else, she could care less, but every time she saw him, the contempt she held for him quickly resurfaced. She did not provoke him, but he himself was always condescending, looking down at her, promising that he could bring her to such glorious heights. It was rather ironic. In the past lifetime, she had fallen to such a miserable state, how could she repeat the same mistakes? Just the thought of it made her turn around and say: “My family must be looking for me, I must return soon. Please, continue…” She performed a ceremonial greeting and led Bai Zhi and Zhao Yue away.
Tuoba Zhen wanted to stop her, but Tuoba Yu was a step ahead of him, blocking his way.
A cold light crossed Tuoba Zhen’s eyes as he slowly said: “What is Qi Di trying to do?”
Tuoba Yu smiled wryly: “Has San ge not realized that Xianzhu doesn’t want to speak with you?”
Tuoba Zhen scoffed and said: “When did you become her messenger?”
Tuoba Yu did not retaliate at the slightest: “Yaotiao shunu, junzi hao qiu, San ge has never heard of this before?”
Tuoba Zhen found this ironic, his eyes darkened: “Qi di, do not hold it against San ge for reminding you, although Li Wei Yang may be Xianzhu, it is only a title in name. There is no respect or power associated with that title, if you wish to marry her, I only fear De Fei niang niang would be the first to object.”
Tuoba Yu did not pay his words any mind, he remained unfazed: “San ge does not need to be concerned with this, I will say this again, San ge has asked to marry Da Xiaojie of the Prime Minister’s residence, if San ge has that much time, San ge should spend some time thinking about how to make good impressions first.”
Each person had something to quip, their responses equally scathing. The shami in the other room began to sweat profusely after hearing this. He didn’t know what was between these two Huangzi Dianxia, why were they so tense with one another, could it be because of that xiao guniang?! That was strange, what part of her did they find so charming…
Tuoba Yu smiled, turned and walked away.
Shami smiled and said: “San Dianxia, Li Furen’s courtyard is up ahead, please come this way.”
Tuoba Zhen coldly scoffed and said: “Let Li Furen know that I have important matters to attend to, farewell.” He then headed towards the gates.
Shami simply stood there, not a shichen had passed since he arrived, and San Dianxia had left, what was the meaning of this?
Li Wei Yang had returned to her room. Mo Zhu had someone clean up the room in the meantime. It was already evening, the Yatous serving her came with meals. Li Wei Yang took a couple bites before lowering her chopsticks and summoned Zhao Yue to the room.
Zhao Yue walked into the room, somewhat tense and uneasy.
Li Wei Yang did not go straight into the matter at hand, she asked: “Where is your brother?”
Zhao Yue was taken back for a moment, then replied: “My gege secretly came with the guards of the Li residence to watch over Zhuzi.”
Li Wei Yang smiled: “The two of you should return tonight. Tell Min De I do not need someone like you by my side.”
Zhao Yue was frightened to the point where her face was pale as a sheet. She fell to her knees, her voice trembling as she said: “Zhuzi, Nubi does not know what Nubi has done to anger Zhuzi, but please do not send Nubi away.”
Li Wei Yang shook her head: “I did not give you an order, yet you decided to take things into your own hands. This can only mean two things, one, you do not understand the rules, secondly, you do not see me as your Zhuzi. I do not need people like you, you should return to Min De’s side.”
Return to shaoye’s side? Shaoye had said that if they could not take good care of Li Wei Yang, he would send the two of them back, then how could the general let go of them that easily? It would be thousands of times worse than the present! Zhao Yue hastily interjected: “Nubi understands now, Nubi did not understand the rules, in the future, if Zhuzi gives the order, Nubi will immediately do so! If Zhuzi does not give an order, Nubi must not intervene! Nubi begs Zhuzi to not send Nubi away, otherwise, Nubi and Nubi’s brother will certainly be driven out to the streets!”
Li Wei Yang lightly said: “You two have kept this up for so long, how much longer will you keep this act up? Driven out to the streets, these words could only fool the spirits. Tuoba Yu is known for his swordsmanship and as a rare martial arts prodigy, how could a girl once wandering the streets exchange five or ten blows with him? If you are this good, then your dage’s martial arts must be far superior, yet you refuse to speak truthfully?!”
These words echoed clearly in Zhao Yue’s mind. She repeatedly kowtowed: “Zhuzi, Nubi speaks the truth, Nubi received the order to protect San shaoye, but Nubi cannot say who ordered us xiong mei to come, if Nubi does, Nubi will not be able to keep Nubi’s life. There are ten people in total, San shaoye had chosen us xiong mei and send us to protect Zhuzi, Nubi would not dare to tell half a lie.”
Before, Zhao Yue had not thought much of Li Wei Yang. She thought that she was only a Xiaojie that did not step foot outside her courtyard. Now it seems she was foolish to have underestimated her, and her identity had also been discovered so quickly. In truth, Zhao Yue was not at fault at all, from a young age, she had grown up in the military and had undergone strict training to understand signals and advance quickly with her sword in hand. She had discovered Tuoba Yu’s soft breathing from his hiding place and had initiated and engaged in combat but only out of reflex.
Li Wei Yang understood this, so she did not blame Zhao Yue: “Leave now.”
Zhao Yue did not understand her intentions and became more fearful after seeing that she was being sent away. She clenched her teeth and continued to plead, “Zhuzi, if you are unsatisfied with Nubi, then Nubi begs that Zhuzi keeps dage here! Dage didn’t do anything wrong!” If she was sent away, she would be marked as a traitor and would inevitably be executed. She did not hope for mercy for herself, she only hoped to save her eldest brother: “Dage’s martial arts are far superior to Nubi’s and will be able to protect Zhuzi in the future!”
“Who said I wanted to send you away?” Li Wei Yang smiled coldly.
“Zhuzi, please spare dage! As for Nubi…” Zhao Yue raised her head, her voice full of conviction as she said: “Zhuzi can personally have Nubi killed!”
“Alright!” Li Wei Yang cut her off. She lifted a cup of tea, her eyes misted over like the Jiangnan rain, gentle and indifferent, “So be it, we must establish an order, for every day that you are still with me, you must follow my orders without question. If there is a day when your former Zhuzi calls you back, or if you have other intentions, you may tell me, and I will allow you xiong mei to leave.”
Zhao Yue was in a state of shock, unable to believe it, they were being pardoned?
Bai Zhi laughed gently: “You still haven’t thanked Zhuzi?”
Zhao Yue hastily kowtowed, immensely grateful: “Thank you Zhuzi! Thank you Zhuzi!” After that, Bai Zhi led her outside.
The sky had darkened outside. Mo Zhu brought a lantern inside and lit a candle. Li Wei Yang had all the Yatous withdraw, leaving only her and Mo Zhu.
Li Wei Yang asked: “What is everyone else doing?”
Mo Zhu replied: “Xiaojie, Da Furen is still in her living quarters, the other Xiaojies are having a meal, Si Yiniang is copying Buddhist scriptures, and Jiu Yiniang said she had a headache and has gone to sleep.”
Li Wei Yang nodded and said: “What did Qiu Ju say?”
Mo Zhu softly said: “Earlier, Qiu Ju came with some news last night, Jiu Yiniang had changed into Yatou’s clothing and secretly went to Da Furen’s courtyard. She did not know what they spoke about, but a shichen later, Jiu Yiniang came out. Xiaojie, are these news reliable? Nubi does not think Qiu Ju is wholeheartedly helping us, Xiaojie had given her so much money, yet she has yet to bring any useful news!”
Li Wei Yang laughed: “Raise an army in a thousand days, only to use them in a fleeting moment, as for useful news, one will be enough.”
Mo Zhu did not understand Xiaojie’s intentions and pondered over it, her face growing even more concerned.
Li Wei Yang said: “Have Zhao Yue stay up tonight and guard the corridor as a precaution.”
In the middle of the night, a deafening scream suddenly rang out, a woman’s scream.
Outside, the courtyard was chaotic, at first, a room in the South wing burned, and for some reason, the flames quickly spread, and the entire courtyard was engulfed in flames. Li Wei Yang suddenly sat up and ran out, but the bed curtains and wardrobe were on fire, her sleeves had just grazed past the window before it caught on fire. Li Wei Yang rolled on the ground, barely extinguishing the flames on her sleeve, she could still run out, but who would have thought a wooden beam would fall, cutting off her only exit, and at that moment, Zhao Yue burst in....
Outside, panicked cries rang out everywhere, everyone ran to put out the flames. Fierce winds further fanned the flames, not much water could be thrown into the fire before the flames defiantly rose several feet, devouring everything, seeing this, no one dared to come near the flames anymore. They could only helplessly watch the brilliantly burning flames like a fiery dragon, madly dancing, circling to the direction of the wind, soon enough, the courtyard had become a sea of flames. The flames had rose to the eaves nearby, burning it as well, violent, crackling explosions could be heard, ash falling like hail raining down from the sky, injuring countless Yatous in the blink of an eye. The explosions, wretched cries, people desperately ran away from the fire, no one daring to come near.
Li Chang Le helped Da Furen stand, her expressions a bit unpleasant. There were burn scars on Da Furen’s wrist. Si Yiniang frantically looked for her two daughters, Li Chang Xi’s face was darkened by black ash, Li Chang Xiao’s entire being as well, her face pale white. Jiu Yiniang stood in the courtyard in a daze as if she could not believe what she was seeing. The Yatous and mamas desperately cried out, stumbling as they ran out, Lin mama snapped: “Why are you running! See if there are any valuables that can still be saved!”
Bai Zhi had gone outside to get water because Li Wei Yang had been thirsty and returned to see the massive fire burning brightly, spreading to every room in the wing, growing stronger and fiercer by the moment. The teapot in her hands suddenly fell to the ground, and she ran, seizing Mo Zhu by the shoulders, shaking her urgently: “Where is Xiaojie? Where is Xiaojie at?”
Mo Zhu fearfully glanced at Bai Zhi, still in a state of shock, it was not her turn to stand watch tonight. She was preparing to head back to her room when she discovered the fire and ran outside like everyone else. There were so many people that she had not realized that Li Wei Yang was not here!
“Xiaojie is still in the room!” Mo Zhu cried out, horrified.
Bai Zhi exclaimed: “Xiaojie is still in inside… ” Pushing Mo Zhu aside, she ran towards the fire.
Mo Zhu saw the relentless flames and the entire room swallowed by the sea of flames and firmly held Bai Zhi back: “Have you lost your mind? How can you run inside when it’s burning!”
“Xiaojie is still inside!” Bai Zhi seized Mo Zhu’s sleeves.
Mo Zhu’s face was also pale white, frightened, she frantically ran over to beg Da Furen: “Furen, San Xiaojie is still inside! Nubi asks that Da Furen send someone to save Xiaojie!”
A small, subtle smile appeared on Da Furen’s face, but in front of everyone else, she expressed her concern, urging: “All of you, why have you not saved Xiaojie!”
Whether it was the shami who came to put out the fire, or the Yatous and mamas, they could only helplessly look at one another.
Such a massive fire, if they were to go back inside, they would surely die.
Bai Zhi clenched her teeth, turned and ran towards the fire. Those beside her caught her and held her back: “Don’t run inside! Can’t you see the building is about to collapse?”
Everyone had fallen silent, watching the fire. The Yatous stared at the raging fire, frightened and their faces drained of color. They did not cry, nor did they scream or cry out, they only watched the flames burn, wide-eyed.
It seemed like the burning flames were reflected in Li Chang Le’s eyes. The intentions behind her smile were unclear, but it made her face, that of a beauty that could make empires and cities fall, become demonic with a faint trace of sinister aura.
The flames kept burning, crackling, and thundering, the roof collapsed, the flames rose into the air, the flames spewed out like fireworks. The firelight cast onto the frightened faces of Bai Zhi and Mo Zhu.
Li Chang Le almost could not suppress her overwhelming joy. From here on out, she would not have to see Li Wei Yang’s face again and would never be provoked by her again!
Suddenly, from within the sea of flames, Zhao Yue ran out, her entire being cloaked in flames, with Li Wei Yang on her back.
Everyone had fallen silent until a Yatou cried out: “San Xiaojie! San Xiaojie is out now!”
To save a life was more than building seven pagodas. The shami who came to put out the fire quickly threw water onto Zhao Yue. Zhao Yue fell to the ground to roll, soon the flames were extinguished, her hair and clothes soaked and slightly smoking, her face covered in ash as she laid on the ground, breathing heavily. Li Wei Yang was not injured at all, she examined Zhao Yue’s body. Seeing that she was not wounded aside from slight scratches, Li Wei Yang could rest assured.
Da Furen’s expressions were warm and welcoming: “Wei Yang, are you alright? You have made Muqin worry to death!”
Bai Zhi and Mo Zhu dropped everything and ran over, circling Li Wei Yang, crying and smiling at the same time.
Li Wei Yang looked at Da Furen’s hypocritical face and inwardly sneered, but her face did not betray a single emotion: “Nu er has made Muqin worry, Nu er is still safe and sound.”
Li Chang Le was disappointed to see this, then bowed her head, glaring at Zhao Yue. It was that Yatou who intervened, if not, Li Wei Yang would have perished in the sea of flames.
There was not a hint of disappointment on Da Furen’s face, it was as usual, almost kind and gentle: “That is good to hear, otherwise, I would not know how to explain this to Lao Furen.”
The fire was still burning, Li Wei Yang glanced over her shoulder at the fierce flames, her expressions growing solemn.
If she had died in this unexpected fire, then whether it was Lao Furen or Li Xiao Ran, no would could say anything. After all, everyone saw Da Furen order everyone to risk their lives and put out the fire, but they had all ran outside, and only she was unfortunate enough to be burnt to death, who was there to blame? She could not help but think, had focusing on Jiu Yiniang a mistake on her part?
Li Wei Yang’s gaze gradually shifted to Jiu Yiniang.
Jiu Yiniang was frightened when she looked over and suddenly saw Li Wei Yang’s cold stare and could not help but lower her head.
No, there must be something she was overlooking! Li Wei Yang thought of every possibility as her gaze swept over everyone. Da Furen was calm, Li Chang Le was disappointed, Si Yiniang was only concerned about bandaging the burns on Li Chang Xi’s arms, glancing at the unfinished dressing, one could see her skin had concerning burns, Li Chang Xiao worriedly looked on, and Jiu Yiniang did not dare to look directly at her - everything must be connected in some way! The whole world seemed to be spinning around her, everyone was a suspect!
At this time, the abbot rushed towards them, although the fire had been contained and extinguished, more than half the courtyard had been burnt down, the suffocating, pungent smell was in the air along with traces of ashes and water.
The abbot was anxious but also frustrated, motioning to those standing behind: “Why have you not quickly brought water to put out the fire?”
A monk hastily ran over to report: “Abbot, those inside the courtyard were all noblewomen, we could not simply burst in. We truly don’t know how the fire started either, perhaps the Yatous fanning the flames in the kitchen were not careful or a candle in the room had been knocked over ---”
Li Wei Yang glanced over, signaling to Zhao Yue. Zhao Yue immediately understood and took advantage of the fact that everyone was restless and distracted to quietly go back to the ashen remains. After a while, Zhao Yue returned and whispered: “Zhuzi, the flames from your room burnt the fiercest, it seems someone had completely covered the door in oil.”
Li Wei Yang’s facial expressions changed, and she said: “Speak up!”
Zhao said: “Yes, Zhuzi, this fire was intentionally started, Nubi discovered flammable oil behind the room!”
Stunned, Da Furen’s piercing stare shot over to Zhao Yue. After that, she said: “What is going on here? Could it be that we have offended someone and this was their revenge? It’s fortunate that no one was hurt, if not, we would have lost our lives on this pilgrimage!”
The abbot apologized continuously. Now that the fire had incinerated everything, including any evidence, even if they wanted to investigate, they would not find much. He said: “This matter will be brought to Jingdu Yin’s attention tomorrow morning, and it will be taken care of.”
Next: Chapter 77 Part 2
Editor: Panisa (In Progress)
Next: Chapter 77 Part 2