The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 78 - Part 1
Chapter 078: Urging the Evil Spirits
1金屋藏娇 – literally to hide a beauty in a golden house. Used to denote meeting a lover secretly
2一笔画不出两个李字 – a way of saying two hands cannot clap; Li Changle is trying to say that the Li Residence cannot be complete without either of them
“Jiu Yiniang was sharing a room with San Xiaojie last night, but she went missing early this morning!” Du Mama hurriedly reported.
Li Xiaoran immediately looked at Li Weiyang, as if to seek her confirmation on this matter.
Li Weiyang nodded: “I did not see Jiu Yiniang when I woke up in the morning.”
“Where could she have gone?” Li Xiaoran couldn’t believe his ears.
Da Furen glanced at everyone present: “Who saw where Jiu Yiniang went? Out with it!”
The servants looked at each other, when out of a sudden, someone stepped out from amongst the crowd and pointed at Li Weiyang. “Furen, Nu Bi had ever seen with my own eyes that Jiu Yiniang was kneeling on the floor begging San Xiaojie. They had talked for very long, and I faintly heard something like ‘please let me go’!”
Da Furen angrily retorted: “What nonsense! Are you saying that San Xiaojie let Jiu Yiniang go?”
Li Weiyang watched her acting, smiling coldly and never uttering a word.
The Yatou hesitatingly replied: “During then.. I was not the only one who saw it, Hong’er, Lü Luo and Mingxia.. we clearly saw it! Furen, please ask them if you don’t believe me!”
“The three of you, speak up!” Du Mama snapped.
The three Yatous who were named were obviously very passive; they looked at Li Weiyang with much fear as they stepped up. “Laoye, Nu Bi had indeed witnessed Jiu Yiniang kneeling on the floor begging San Xiaojie, but we do not know what they had said!”
Li Changle seemed to have been waiting for this moment. She questioned Li Weiyang angrily: “Weiyang, what is the meaning of this? Why did you help Jiu Yiniang escape?”
“We haven’t conducted a thorough search of the surroundings, perhaps it might not have really been an escape?” Li Xiaoran could not believe it was possible.
Da Furen smiled coldly. “Let them search and see!”
A few servants went outside of the living quarters to search for Jiu Yiniang, but returned with nothing even after checking the prayer hall.
Li Weiyang lowered her eyes, with a fleeting cold sneer at the edge of her lips. This is all a trap – the previous time when Jiu Yiniang was sobbing and begging for her help, yesterday night’s arrangement for them to share the same room; everything had been planned nicely from the start.
“What do you have to say for yourself, San Mei!” Li Changle scolded.
Li Weiyang replied calmly: “The Li Household has provided Jiu Yiniang with good food and comfortable clothing, why would she want to run away?”
Li Xiaoran frowned in deep thought. Why would his beloved concubine, whom he doted on, run away without a care for anything else?
Li Changle revealed an expression of shock, then changed quickly into realization – “Might she have… I remember the last time Muqin invited a performance troupe, one of the yatous was gossiping about how Jiu Yiniang had a lover with her troupe, perhaps..”
Jiu Yiniang had eloped with someone else! Everyone was stunned.
Li Xiaoran’s face was filled with speechless indignation and awkwardness; his beloved concubine had actually run away with an actor – which goes to show that in Jiu Yiniang’s heart, he couldn’t even hold up against such a lowly person! In an instant, a curl of hot anger flared up in his heart and he loudly demanded an explanation: “Weiyang, what actually happened!” He was extremely angry; why would Li Weiyang have to help Jiu Yiniang!
Li Weiyang blandly took in Li Xiaoran’s anger. She did not blame him because she could empathize; however, at the same time, she looked down on him for losing his cool just for a woman and his insecurity! It goes to show that no matter how smart a person can be, his thoughts could still be muddled in the time of crisis. Da Furen understands her husband perfectly in this!
“San Mei, you might hate Fuqin for abandoning you in the countryside for so many years, but you shouldn’t be doing this. Fuqin has been treating you well ever since you came back, so how could you repay his kindness with evil!” Li Changle said.
Li Weiyang suddenly smiled but maintained her silence, as if she was unwilling to explain.
Li Xiaoran was so angry that even his eyes were flushed red, and Da Furen quickly tried to appease him: “She is still a young child, Laoye please don’t let anger affect your health!”
Si Yiniang did not believe for a moment that the usually bright Li Weiyang would stand by idly for her death; she observed her facial expressions carefully and detected that she had something up her sleeves. She gave a small smile: “Laoye, I believe San Xiaojie will not do such a thing, do not just blindly believe in the one sided story the yatous say!”
“What has happened has already happened, Si Yiniang you shouldn’t try to quibble!” Li Changle retorted coldly.
Si Yiniang harrumphed and looked away quietly.
Da Furen wanted to finish the matter before any changes could take place; she hurriedly asked: “Laoye, how should we deal with this?” Releasing her father’s concubine privately was a condemnable act against filial piety, and the lightest punishment he could mete was to chase Li Weiyang out of the Li Residence. Since the fire couldn’t burn her alive, she would force her into a corner, with nowhere to run!
Li Xiaoran was about to speak, when he saw a beautiful woman and her servant gracefully walk in through the door.
Everybody was stunned. “Laoye? Why are you here?” Jiu Yiniang had a surprised expression on her face.
Da Furen looked like she’d just seen a ghost. Li Changle could only stammer: “You.. How could you be here?”
Taking big steps down the platform, Li Xiaoran rushed up to Jiu Yiniang and held her arms tightly: “Where have you been?”
“I’ve only been to the toilet – because I was scared that I’d disturb San Xiaojie in her room.” Jiu Yiniang blushed, embarrassed.
Li Xiaoran stilled, then glanced towards Da Furen with a weird look on his face.
Li Weiyang had maintained her silence throughout, but she now sighed. “Fuqin, now do you know why they say a crowd can smelt gold – and the pointlessness of speaking against a hundred mouths?”
The yatous who had been speaking out about Jiu Yiniang’s escape now had fear and surprise written all over their faces. If Jiu Yiniang didn’t flee, then those who had accused her would be setting her up..
Li Xiaoran’s eyes were scrutinizing those involved – Da Furen, Li Changle, Du Mama and the yatous who ‘exposed’ Jiu Yiniang and Li Weiyang. There was a long silence in the room.
For the first time, fear was revealed on Da Furen’s face, but she quickly calmed herself down.
“Fuqin, please follow me into the house. I have somebody I would like you to meet.” Li Weiyang smiled and said.
In a snap, Da Furen suddenly understood, and took a step down the platform. “Laoye!” She called out, and weakly dropped down to the ground as if she had no strength to stand.
Du Mama quickly stepped forward to help Da Furen up, summoning the servants who were standing around as well. “What are you all waiting for! Help bring Furen back to her room to rest!” She understood Furen’s meaning; they could not let Li Weiyang reveal anything to the crowd, if not, everything would be over for them!
Li Changle flew over to her mother and cried out pleadingly: “Fuqin, take a look at Muqin!”
Li Xiaoran had a moment’s hesitation, and at this juncture, Jiu Yiniang took a step forward with tears brimming in her eyes. “Laoye, I have something to say!”
Looking into those familiar and beautiful eyes, Li Xiaoran was moved. He nodded and quickly walked towards Li Weiyang’s house.
Once they were in the house, Li Weiyang instructed Zhaoyue to carry out Lin Mama, who had been tied up for the whole night and hidden behind the bed.
Li Xiaoran did not understand what had happened. He glanced at Jiu Yiniang. Her eyes, brightened by the moist tears, resembled a pair of deep and clear lakes. However, waves of resentment and unwillingness suddenly surged in these lakes, and Jiu Yiniang suddenly dropped to her knees. “Laoye, please spare my life, let me go!”
He was shocked. “What do you mean by spare your life? What happened?” Li Xiaoran asked uncomprehendingly.
Jiu Yiniang remained on the floor. Her voice was shaking, but her determination was clear: “I beg of you Laoye, to let me go, let me end my wretched life quietly and peacefully!”
Li Xiaoran grew even more shocked and confused: “What nonsense are you saying? Isn’t everything fine, why..” He suddenly understood and said angrily: “Did Da Furen create problems for you?”
Li Weiyang gave a small smile: “Fuqin, Muqin is not creating problems for Jiu Yiniang. She wants to force her to die.”
“What is this?!” Li Xiaoran was stunned.
“Fuqin, yesterday night’s fire was purposely started by someone, and it was directed at Jiu Yiniang.” In truth, the arsonist was targeting only Li Weiyang, but Jiu Yiniang has now been dragged in. “Luckily Jiu Yiniang is blessed and survived. Hence, the mastermind had to plan another show to force Jiu Yiniang away and pin the blame on me. This Lin Mama was here to spy on us, but my yatou discovered her and we tied her up.”
“Force you away?” Li Xiaoran said angrily. “What’s the meaning of that?”
“Laoye, you know that I am a woman of low birth, and I was originally performing with the troupe. It is unavoidable that there would be some gossips spreading around; Da Furen actually accused me of committing adultery with an actor. She had him beat up and tried to coerce me into admitting it. My status might be lowly, but I am innocent, so how could I admit to being guilty? I had no choice but to beg Da Furen to spare me. Furen said she’d give me a chance; during this pilgrimage to the mountains, I could leave, but I had to first help her accomplish a task; I needed to make San Xiaojie take the blame. I know that there has always been bad blood between San Xiaojie and Furen..”
Li Xiaoran’s expression was beyond shock.
Jiu Yiniang clutched at his sleeve desperately: “I have Laoye’s attention and love, Da Furen naturally cannot condone it. Actually forcing me to leave is no big matter, but I really couldn’t bear to push all the blame on the innocent San Xiaojie, because she is a generous person..”
Upon hearing this, Li Xiaoran’s face went purplish with anger and he almost roared out: “That slut, she actually dares to do this!”
“Laoye, I am so afraid! With my refusal to leave this time, Da Furen will definitely not let me off!” Jiu Yiniang continued clinging on, crying out as if her heart was tearing apart.
Li Xiaoran was stunned and did not move after hearing her pleas.
Li Weiyang exhibited a sympathetic expression: “Fuqin, maybe you could build a mansion outside to let Jiu Yiniang stay?”
A cruel expression flashed on Li Xiaoran’s face; one that had never been seen before. “Do not worry, so what if she is the female head of the household, I naturally will have my ways to stop her!”
“But.. For causing Laoye such difficult problems, I feel as if life is pointless. If I had left of my own accord, Laoye wouldn’t have been in such a difficult position..” Jiu Yiniang’s voice was very soft and wavering, as if she would die of depression if he did not allow her to leave. In actual truth, she was simply scared that she would lose her life at the hands of Da Furen after this.
Hearing her pitiful tone, Li Xiaoran felt heartache for her: “Since you do not wish to stay here, I shall build a mansion outside for you.”
“Thank you Laoye.” In the end, Li Xiaoran had to agree to hide his beautiful Jiu Yiniang away1. She let out a sigh of relief.
Li Weiyang watched this scene with a smile, and Li Xiaoran strode out quickly with great pacing. She had never before seen him walk so swiftly, as if he had wings on his feet.
Jiu Yiniang carefully asked: “San Xiaojie, have I done well?”
“Of course. Jiu Yiniang’s acting skills are improving.” Li Weiyang smiled amicably.
Bai Zhi looked at Lin Mama. “Xiaojie, how about this old woman?”
“Throw her to the mountains to feed the wolves.” Li Weiyang ordered Zhao Yue, without any change in expression.
Lin Mama was aghast and tried to speak, but was hauled out of the window by an expressionless Zhao Yue.
Bai Zhi thought to herself: These martial art practitioners, how could they be so rough, couldn’t she have left through the door?
Li Xiaoran emitted a murderous intent, and when Li Changle tried to stop him, she was kicked to the floor with a sweep of his leg.
He went straight up to Da Furen and splashed a cup of cold tea directly onto her face, causing her to jump up from her seat and look at him blankly. It was as if the tea had put out the fire in her eyes; she looked as if she did not understand what was going on. Li Xiaoran did not beat around the bush, he stepped up and grabbed her Da Furen’s long hair: “Slut, what have you done!”
Da Furen purposely twitched, and she lifted her chin with some difficulty. It felt as if her whole body was immersed in cold, cold water. She knew that Li Xiaoran had found out everything: “Laoye, I do not know anything!”
Li Xiaoran stared at her coldly, like a poisonous snake would view a frog – its prey.
Da Furen twitched again. She no longer felt like she was only in cold water; it was ice cold, and rapidly freezing into solid ice. With such bone-chilling coldness, her tongue was slightly numb and she had difficulty speaking: “I really do not know why Laoye is like this, I did not do anything!” Without a care for her image, she was on the verge of tears at the last sentence.
“From today onwards, if any harm comes to Jiu Yiniang, even if she falls, you will pay the exact same price!” Li Xiaoran spit out, with each word as cold as ice.
Da Furen was shocked. From the day she had married into the Li Residence, she had never ever met with such treatment; now, she not only felt pain, but could almost taste a dead desperation.
She knew Li Xiaoran would definitely do what he says!
Li Changle’s piercing scream broke the silence in the hall: “Fuqin, how could you treat Muqin in this manner!”
“Is that so?” Li Xiaoran turned around and looked at Li Changle. “And how did she treat others? Weiyang might be a concubine’s daughter, but she has my blood in her veins, and she is still your own sister. You and your mother have tried to harm her time and time again, and I have mercifully let you both go unpunished. Yet your grasp has extended till Jiu Yiniang; both of you want to chase her away, do you mean to let me go lonely? Or are the both of you forcing me to fall out?!”
Li Changle had never seen her Fuqin like this, and her face filled up with fear. She leapt to his feet: “Fuqin, Muqin and I have only ever wanted the best for you, it must be San Mei who has been speaking ill of us behind our backs; she has always been jealous of me. Fuqin, you must not believe her!”
Li Xiaoran flung her hands away: “Your younger sister is jealous of you? Do you mean to say that Jiu Yiniang is also speaking nonsense? Changle, you have disappointed me, how could you have become like this! Forget it, since Ci Du Hall is right out front, from today onwards, you stay in there and repent. As long as I do not give my consent, do not come back home!” He turned and left without a second glance back at them.
When he reached the courtyard, he saw a silent Li Weiyang, and involuntarily walked over to stand next to her. With a sigh, he looked directly into her eyes and said: “Weiyang, you are my daughter, if anyone ever bullies you, I will stand up for you.”
Li Weiyang smiled: “Thank you, Fuqin.”
After Li Xiaoran left, Li Changle suddenly rushed out, her eyes locking onto Li Weiyang.
Li Weiyang arched her brows and glanced at Li Changle with a small smile on her lips, waiting for her to either vent her anger or lose poise.
Although her heart felt cold and her throat was stiff, Li Changle hardened her resolve and unashamedly spoke with a trembling voice: “Meimei.. I know I am being thick-skinned now, but as your elder sister, I am telling you.. stop creating problems. No matter what, we are blood sisters; if you chase me out, your heart will not feel good either. Our fighting will only be seen as a joke to others. The word ‘Li’ cannot be written with only one stroke2, and you know that life in that temple hall is so hard, could you bear to see me suffer, eating such poor and plain meals?”
Li Weiyang did not reply; she only gazed back steadily, with a weird light glinting in her eyes.
Li Changle hated Li Weiyang to the core, as well as looked down on her. Not only was she of lower birth, most importantly, be it looks or poise, the other party obviously could not even hold a candle to her. But why, why did she stand out more, why was she so lucky; how could she tolerate such a yatou being on top of her head. She could not even keep calm while looking at Li Weiyang; if only she had died in yesterday’s fire, she would not be in this awkward situation. But with the memory of Li Xiaoran’s anger, Li Changle felt as if her throat was painfully dry, yet she had to soldier on: “Weiyang, you know that yesterday’s fire was merely an accident, Muqin did order people to go in and save you. As for Jiu Yiniang’s incident, I definitely had nothing to do with it, Fuqin was just venting it on me...”
Li Weiyang remained calm, still looking at her with nary a smile.
Li Changle felt like her heart was cold and heavy as if it was filled with lead, but still she continued with a frozen throat and voice that was shaking uncontrollably: “Yes, perhaps your heart is still full of hate for me and Muqin, but we share the same blood. If you would be willing to plead for me in front of Fuqin, I am willing to forget everything that has happened in the past and be a good sister to you. I can even tell Muqin to allow you to attend more events. You are thirteen now and will be engaged in two years’ time, you’ll need us then right? Go to Fuqin now, and tell him that everything was a misunderstanding, that this is all Jiu Yiniang’s plan to sow discord between us sisters!”
Li Weiyang suddenly burst out laughing: “Dajie, you are indeed too shameless, I have never seen anyone as shameless as you.”
Li Changle shook as if she had been burned by a spark of fire, and her expression immediately changed. She widened her eyes, glaring with a scary light and shouted: “Li Weiyang, I am giving you a chance right now, if you would help plead for me, I will not hold anything against you, otherwise—“
“Otherwise what? Are you going to set fire to burn me alive again?” Li Weiyang faintly smiled, her calm and deep eyes bringing forth a chilling look.
“You bitch…” Li Changle could hardly form a word in her anxiety and anger.
“I never thought that Dajie would come and beg me; I had thought that you were cruel, but at least you’d have some self-esteem. But now, you would rather throw away your pride, just to remain here. Dajie, to be honest, the decision to send you away to repent is by Fuqin, I am powerless to stop him. If you do not wish to go, beg Fuqin, and do not hope that I would ever help you. I do want to advise you though; he is extremely angry now, you are better off listening to him, if not it might not be just sending you away to repent, but to become a nun!”
“Bitch! I will never forgive you!” Li Changle screamed and twisted away, running out of the courtyard.
Bai Zhi had never seen the gorgeous Da Xiaojie behaving in such a manner before; utterly losing her graceful poise. “By the heavens, so Da Xiaojie is this kind of person.” She said in shock.
Li Weiyang smiled: “Dogs will jump over walls when forced to, but this time, no matter how hard she tries, she will not jump out of this.”
True to his words, Li Xiaoran sent Li Changle to the temple hall that very afternoon, on the pretext that she was ill and had to remain in the mountains to recuperate. This news spread like wildfire in Jingdu and caused much gossip. Da Furen was sick for a whole three months as well; this trip to the mountains reaped no fruitful rewards as she’d hoped, and instead lost her beloved daughter as a result.
In the middle of the night, Yatou Yin Xing was walking along the corridor, with a bowl of medicine on her serving tray. Da Furen’s anger had caused this bout of illness, so the physician had specially prescribed a calming draught which has to be consumed every 4 hours; these poor servants had to forgo their sleep to serve their mistress.
At this moment, Yin Xing suddenly paused and looked around, alert.
A pitiful crying sound weaved throughout the surroundings; it was filled with immeasurable sadness and anger at the same time, as if the person had some unspoken wrongs.
Yin Xing was frightened, and she fearfully glanced towards the bushes. All of a sudden, the bushes started rustling, and orbs of jade green ghost fire floated out. They hovered in the air, floating towards the corridor.
Surrounded by the ghost fire, Yin Xing dropped the medicine in fright and screamed aloud: “Ghosts! There are ghosts!” She turned and ran backwards, scrambling and scrabbling along the corridor.
From that day on, Da Furen’s courtyard became haunted; every night, countless orbs of ghost fire would appear from nowhere, flying and circling about, with no fear of humans. There was much heated discussion and speculation about this; San Furen’s sudden death must be linked to Da Furen, this haunting must be San Furen’s soul returning to seek revenge on Da Furen. With such gossip getting worse by the day, all the servants had more and more theories; someone even said that she saw the ghost fire take on the silhouette of San Furen.
Naturally, Da Furen was furious upon hearing such gossip, as it seriously damaged her reputation and she felt that someone was spreading these rumors on purpose. She stoically dragged herself from bed, got dressed, and issued orders to all servants to assemble in the courtyard. She would let them witness with their own eyes if there was any ghosts or not!
Midnight came and there were no creepy occurrences. Da Furen laughed coldly: “Hmph, these were all just rumors, do you believe what your own eyes see now?”
The Yatous and Mamas glanced at each other, not daring to speak, even though most of them had actually seen the supernatural.
Just as Da Furen had finished her sentence, Du Mama suddenly shouted: “Ah! Ghost!”
Da Furen sucked in a deep breath and turned around frantically. She saw two orbs of ghost fire floating from afar, right outside her courtyard. “Quick, quickly go and investigate!” Da Furen, said, despite her own panic.
A brave Mama walked over with lantern in hand, but upon rushing to the spot which Da Furen had seen it, there was nothing around but a patch of dead grass, not even a shadow.
Da Furen heard a piercing scream from a distance away, and with a lift of her head, she spotted another orb floating near the corridor. “There! There!”
Everyone rushed over, but as before, there was nothing. Amidst the confusion, Da Furen yet again saw an orb of ghost fire elsewhere.
Da Furen originally thought of it as a rumor, but did not expect herself to really see it. With her body weak from the current illness, she broke out in cold sweat and called out in fright: “Quickly, let’s go back inside!”
The servants hurriedly helped her back in. Da Furen ordered them to light as much candles as they could. Seated in her hall, she muttered and cursed under her breath: “Don’t look for me, I am not afraid of you, I am not afraid!” As she spoke, she continued scanning around the room.
There were ten over yatous in the house, but all of them were as frightened as Da Furen. A gloomy silence descended upon them; except for the occasional sparks from the candles, no other sounds could be heard.
Da Furen had never felt fear like this before. She straightened her ears, nervously listening for any sounds inside or outside of the house. Any weird sounds would make her extremely scared – the moment she thought about San Furen’s death, Da Furen would shudder. She had purposely planned it, but it has never occurred to her that this woman would turn into a ghost to haunt her! All these years, countless people have lost their lives at her hands, but not one of them had made her this fearful. Could it be because San Furen was her close enemy? Or maybe, maybe her own death was near, that’s why San Furen has returned to demand it from her! Da Furen’s fear deepened, and at this moment, there was a flash of blue light outside her window, almost like a bunch of ghost fires. With such a horrific image appearing just as she was feeling guilty, Da Furen felt as if her blood had turned to ice. She screamed and ran forward, behaving like a possessed woman: “I’m not scared of you, I’m not scared of you, get lost! Quickly get lost!”
A strange gust of wind blew through a crack in the door, causing her clothes to ripple eerily. The servants saw Da Furen’s crazy behavior and suspected that she was possessed; hence they froze there in fear, not daring to move.
Da Furen leaped towards the window, and a flash of blue light slid across. Beneath the ghost fire, it vaguely seemed like there was a ferocious face.
“Ah!” Da Furen screamed horribly, swaying and falling backwards. She felt as if a powerful force had exploded from within herself, almost as if it had emptied her entire body.
“Furen!” Du Mama rushed forwards, catching Da Furen.