The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 91 - Part 1
Chapter 91: Life Lost
Mìng sàng huángquán (Life Lost in Yellow Spring) — Idiom for dying; Huang Quan is literally yellow spring, and is one of the rivers of the underworld, so it’s a reference to losing your life.
 Guogong — Title is the equivalent of a Grand Duke
 Three parts — When asked for a vote of confidence, one responds with parts out of ten, so like on a scale from 1-10; three out of ten parts is not even half, so not very confident
 Wàizǔmǔ — maternal grandmother
 Gūmǔ — refers to father’s sister or paternal aunt, it is the latter in this case
 玉兰 yùlán — Michelia, part of the magnolia family and sometimes mistaken for the magnolia
“Not quite. Without the Emperor’s Imperial edict, it’s impossible for them to return to the Capital.” Li Min De smiled.
Li Wei Yang agreed: “Indeed. Unless the Emperor gives the order, the members of the Jiang family cannot return. Otherwise, it would be considered treason.”
The Guogong of the Jiang family was perhaps their strongest support. The Emperor respected him and would not shake a pillar of the kingdom unless evidence was uncovered. A glass that is already full will overflow. The Jiang family might be burning brightly now, but a fire with oil added to it becomes rather volatile. Who is to say they will always enjoy everlasting wealth and glory?
Li Min De nodded: “But it isn’t wise to provoke them. Sanjie, have you thought of a countermeasure yet?”
Li Wei Yang stood up and looked at the green banana leaves outside and murmured: “Having stabbed the hornet’s nest, one must have made preparations.”
Zhao Nan groaned. Zhao Yue softly scolded him: “Ge, you really were careless.”
Zhao Nan laughed aloud.
Li Wei Yang turned back, saw the two siblings and smiled: “Zhao Nan, if you fought one-on-one with that person, how confident would you be in your abilities?”
Zhao Nan pondered over it for a bit then said: “Three parts.”
Li Wei Yang nodded: “Men of the Jiang family are truly extraordinary…”
Li Min De scoffed coldly: “Unfortunately, their women are useless, like the narrow-minded Da Furen, and the foolish and selfish Wei Guo Furen. Look how they ended up.”
Li Wei Yang laughed: “Every generation of the Jiang family is like that. Even if their son or the bride was exceptional, their daughters are spoiled and left undisciplined.”
The Jiang family sheltered and indulged their daughters in every way, and when they are of age, they are married into respectable households. On the other hand, they raised their sons under strict supervision. From a young age, they would be sent into the military then to the battlegrounds, where they obtained many medals of honors. It was their hard work that allowed the women of the Jiang family to bask in prestige and honor. For that reason, everyone wished to become a woman in the Jiang family.
Bai Zhi hastily came in to report: “Xiaojie, Lao Furen of the Jiang family came.”
Oh? Li Wei Yang and Li Min De looked at one another. Wei Guo Furen had unexpectedly died, Jiang Guogong Furen had sent people to invite Da Furen over several times, but Da Furen was ill, unable to comprehend anything. She could not come over, and that made Jiang Furen suspicious.
That old woman was more capable than the average person. Li Wei Yang contemplated over this before quietly saying: “Does Lao Furen know?”
“Lao Furen has personally gone to greet her and ordered all the Xiaojies and Yiniangs to go to the main hall and wait.”
Li Wei Yang nodded: “Since Waizumu has come, this is to be expected.”
The way she said “Waizumu” through clenched teeth caught Li Min De’s attention.
Not long after, Jiang Guogong Furen Lin shi arrived. Despite her silver hair, she bore a great resemblance to Da Furen but with a higher forehead and larger eyes. One could vaguely tell that she used to be very beautiful. When she gently lifted the cup of tea, the refined and extravagant, floral designs on her sleeves were revealed.
A beautiful Furen about twenty five or twenty six years old with delicate eyebrows was by her side. Her hair was in a high updo with a hairpin adorned with large pearls. She wore an embroidered, peacock blue brocade garment and a silk white skirt the color of snow. She seemed like a young beauty, clever and sharp. Li Wei Yang immediately recognized her. This woman was the zhang nu of the scholar of the Han institution, Han shi, and also the wife of the eldest son of the Jiang family.
Han shi played a part in helping Li Chang Le become Empress. To this day, Li Wei Yang still remembered the first thing Han shi said to her: “Meimei, you are not gumu’s flesh and blood, but I feel very close to you. From now on, think of me as your sister-in-law, our families will be as close as hand and feet.” She felt that these words were somewhat sincere, but later on, she realized she had been too hopeful for affection, so she treasured others’ pleasant but empty words.
In the end, faced a fate like that, she only had herself to blame.
Li Wei Yang stood outside the door, smiling, then went in.
Guogong Furen Lin shi saw Li Wei Yang from afar and noticed her light-colored clothes, willowy silhouette and soft footsteps. Her eyes and lips were graced with a smile. She did not have an outstanding appearance, but her gentle smile and elegant eyebrows reflected her sincerity and innocence like a proud, white michelia branch.
Lin shi recognized Li Wei Yang’s strengths. A woman like her did not have Li Chang Le’s enthralling beauty, but she knew how to hide her abilities and cleverness, seemingly pure and plain yet able to stand out and unexpectedly captivated the entire room.
Li Wei Yang met Lin shi’s gaze, which had been appraising her, naturally smiled and sincerely said: “Wei Yang greets Waizumu, Da Biao Sao.”
Li shi only looked at her. Han shi cleverly took initiative and approached her. She held onto Li Wei Yang’s arm as she carefully eyed her from head to toe: “San biaomei is lovely, pure and gentle, well-mannered indeed.” The first time she heard of her, Li Wei Yang was a girl who grew up in the countryside.
She quickly formed the impression of a girl with a crude appearance and mannerisms. Later on, she heard Li Wei Yang was awarded by the Emperor. She vaguely felt that this was a woman who had a crude exterior and behave no differently from a man. Who would have thought Li Wei Yang would have an unassuming, modest charm?
In typical aristocratic households, there are shu nu that do not marry yet do not change the dynamics of the family. It was all the same. Even if they had someone who loved them, there was not much that could be done without the status of zhang nu. Their future marriages boiled down to three choices. At the very worst, they would be married to a scholar as the official wife. If they were more fortunate, they could marry a widowed eldest son of a prestigious noble family to be the second wife.
Of course, this was for shu nu in most noble households. Given the Li family’s status, shu nu had better prospects and could at least be used to win over Huangzi. In the past, Lin shi had advised Da Furen on this, so she would not neglect to manage and discipline the shu nu. In the future, they could be used as stones to pave the way to the Imperial family. Da Furen heeded these words and carefully raised Si Xiaojie and Wu Xiaojie. Since she needed stones to pave the road, she also brought back San Xiaojie, who was said to be weak and ordinary. Lin shi did not think that this girl from Pingcheng would be a calamity.
Lin shi cast Li Wei Yang a cold glance and just nodded, not saying a word.
At this time, Lao Furen smiled and said: “In-law Furen, it has been a while since you’ve visited.”
Lin Furen heaved a long sigh: “There is a funeral at home, so visiting is not convenient.”
There seemed to be some regret on Lao Furen’s face, but her eyes were still kind: “Ai, I am aware of Wei Guo Furen’s matter, but my health has not been as good recently. I could not personally come and offer my condolences.”
A cold gleam crossed Lin shi’s eyes, her lips were pursed as if she were smiling: “That child was not very sensible and caused a great disaster. Thanks to son-in-law, the Jiang family was not implicated. Thank you for concern, my old bones can still hold up.”
Li Wei Yang heard this and remained silent. It was true that if it weren’t for Li Xiao Ran’s plead, Bixia would have persecuted the Jiang family. Although it was just a front. The Jiang family had considerable military authority, would the Emperor truly create trouble for them? Wei Guo Furen had died, and everything had been made clear. Of course, there may be other details that no one was aware of.
Han shi quietly stood off to the side, looking at Li Wei Yang across from her. Behind Li Wei Yang, the faded gold of sunlight shone in through the window, Li Wei Yang still had a gentle smile, kind and amiable. Underneath it was a hidden hostility and vehemence that would terrify others, but it was as if she was carefully listening to the conversation over there, although her mind had soon drifted elsewhere.
Han shi was unhappy to find that she could not see through a xiao guniang’s intentions. This had never happened before!
Lin shi looked around as if realizing something: “Why don’t I see Rou er?” She affectionately called Da Furen Rou er. Li Wei Yang faintly smiled. She obviously noticed Da Furen had not come but only chose to mention it now. She was truly a sly old fox.
“In-law Furen, daughter-in-law’s health is not well. A few days ago, Wei Guo Furen was met with misfortune, and she struggled to get up and go visit. Unfortunately, she had not boarded the carriage before falling down and had to send a messenger to inform the Guogong residence. If you wish to visit, I will have her come—” Deep down, Lao Furen did not want mother and daughter to meet, but seeing Jiang Guogong Furen set aside her pride to come here, not letting them see each other was unreasonable.
“No need!” Lin shi said, stopping the Yatous who were about to go and get Da Furen, “Let me finish my tea, then I will go and see her myself!” She lifted the white porcelain cup of chrysanthemum tea and slowly sipped, not too quickly nor slowly. The porcelain lid touched the cup, making a small sound, leaving everyone else in silence.
Er Furen sat beside her the whole time. She was left to manage household affairs and could gloat over Da Furen’s misery, only - when she saw Jiang Guogong Furen, for some reason, her heart pounded with unease of a foreboding omen.
This Guogong Furen seemed more difficult to deal with that Da Furen herself!
Guogong Furen took her time finishing her tea. Everyone restlessly watched, especially Si Yiniang, who almost tore her handkerchief to pieces. She looked as if she would faint. Anyone could recognize her fear because she had been disrespectful towards Da Furen recently and seeing Guogong Furen made her realize the consequences of her actions. She took a few steps back. Li Chang Xiao rushed over to support her, and they quietly left.
Lao Furen shot a cold look in Si Yiniang’s direction, displeased.
Amidst the silence, only Li Wei Yang was unfazed. It was as if she did not see or hear Guogong Furen and continued to stand there, lost in her thoughts, unaffected by her surroundings.
At last, Lin shi sternly broke the silence: “Alright, to Fu Rui Courtyard.”
As a result, they accompanied her to Fu Rui Courtyard.
Cui mama had helped Da Furen wash her face and brush her hair, but it did not add much life to her current state. She was neatly dressed and waiting in the yard for Guogong Furen, happiness on her face as she spoke: “Muqin, why did you come!”
Guogong Furen saw the dazed eyes, gaunt face and weary appearance of her daughter and was shocked. Compared to her unruly second daughter, she had always favored her zhang nu whose personality and appearance resembled her the most. Wei Guo Furen’s death had struck a great blow to her, and now, seeing her zhang nu in this haggard state, Lin shi could barely contain her anger. Han shi hastily tugged at her arm. Lin shi thought that now was not the time to abandon the Li family and suppressed her anger: “What are you ill with, why did you not come when your meimei met misfortune!”
Da Furen only gave Lin shi a blank look after hearing this.
Li shi became even more furious, turned back and glared at Lao Furen: “What happened here?!” Her eyes gleamed like swords flying towards Lao Furen, causing Lao Furen to feel a slight prickling sensation on her skin.
Lao Furen was momentarily at a loss for words.
She could not just say… She had confined her daughter-in-law for too long that she had become muddle-minded.
Li Wei Yang stepped forward and said: “Responding to Waizumu, Muqin has a disease of the heart.” Her words had two meanings (heart disease or mental illness), after that, she scanned her surroundings.
Lin shi was disgusted by this shu Yatou, having heard this, also looked around, and her eyes widened in surprise. As it turned out, every flower and patch of grass, the doors, windows, pieces of furniture, even on the decorative mountain, in the dining hall, yellow talismans where put up everywhere.
The sight before her made Lin shi shudder.
Han shi was shocked: “This is—”
She quickly glanced at Da Furen, intending to ask, but Da Furen was like a puppet made of wood, silent. Cui mama was relieved. Da Furen was confined in her room, and while she still had a three meals a day and her medicine, but San Xiaojie had secretly ordered that no one was to talk to her. After so long, it seemed Da Furen had forgotten how to speak. Left disoriented for days, her state of mind had grown abnormal. She even refused to take her medication for her illness and constantly demanded that they catch the ghosts, screaming every night, sometimes falling out bed, her breaths were weak, and she had become someone of the living dead.
Lin shi’s expressions were grim, she hid her shock, “What ultimately happened? What happened? What has left you in this state?!”
Da Furen’s arm that she had been holding began to hurt, she tensed and looked around.
Lao Furen was a bit anxious, worried Da Furen would let something unpleasant slip.
Li Wei Yang faintly smiled, her lips curving up into a small smirk.
Da Furen’s face fearful, her eyes bloodshot: “Muqin… There is something in this courtyard!” She looked in every direction, frightened and helpless, a different person altogether, unlike the refined, dignified and independent Da Furen of the past.
Her sanity had been completely defeated by ghosts and confinement, but the person behind all of it stood before her, smiling.
“What thing!” Lin shi angrily demanded.
“Ghost!” Da Furen choked out as if there was cotton in her throat. Her eyes were possessed by fervor, “But I’ve put up countless talismans and spells in the courtyard. That thing must be afraid, she won’t dare to come! Hmph, I know who she is, I’m not afraid of her! When she was alive, she couldn’t oppose me, what can she do when she’s dead!” As she spoke, Da Furen nervously bit her lip, looking all around, searching, wanting to catch her!
Lin shi had never imagined her zhang nu would be reduced to this ghost-like state.
“Ghost?!” She intuitively felt that this matter was related to Li Wei Yang, she could not help but turn and stare at her: “How can a ghost appear in this courtyard?”
Li Wei Yang gently smiled and said: “San Shen passed away, Muqin probably misses her a lot, so she always says she sees San Shen in this courtyard. Everyone has tried to persuade Muqin otherwise, but Muqin still persists, inviting monks and Daoists to examine the energy of the courtyard and is unable to sleep at night. These past two days, her condition has worsened, she even said she saw Wu Yiniang in the courtyard… Since Waizumu has come, hope Waizumu will help persuade Muqin.”
“Hmph, how can there be a ghost in broad daylight!” Lin shi glared at Li Wei Yang, beginning to understand the situation: “Don’t try to be clever with your words!”
Li Wei Yang smiled and said: “Thank Waizumu for the praise.”
Lin shi sneered and said to Da Furen: “Do not be afraid, I’m here. Ghosts and demons will not harm you, much less those lowly things, no need to fear!”
Li Wei Yang blinked, Lin shi was talking about her. This Guogong Furen was not easy to target.
Lao Furen heard this and became indignant, who is she calling a “lowly thing!”
Lin shi turned to face Lao Furen with a hostile stare: “In-law Furen, this child is severely ill, why did you not inform me of this earlier.”
Lao Furen furrowed her eyebrows, conflicted: “You know, daughter-in-law has always had a strong, independent personality. Moreover, health is a treasure, and while you are strong, your age is not what it used to be, so I did not want to trouble you.”
A wind blew past, the golden flower hairpin on Lin shi’s head touched her temple, making a chiming sound. The sun shone on her silver hair, making it even more eye-catching. Then her eyes slowly softened: “I wish to take her home to recuperate.”
A daughter that had been married off needed her husband’s family’s permission to return home, much less go home to recuperate, unless Da Furen was abandoned by her husband. Lin shi’s request was somewhat inappropriate, but her tone was did not leave room for negotiation.
Although Lao Furen was greatly displeased, she revealed none of this on her face. She smiled and looked to Lin shi: “This… I’m afraid won’t be good. A residence this large still needs someone to manage it.”
Han shi smiled, her voice clear as a silver bell, pleasant to the ear: “Da gumu is ill, household affairs must be handed over to someone else. If Lao Furen is reluctant to let Da gumu leave your side, then come to our residence, we will happily welcome you.”
They did not hold the Li family on their eyes at all, Li Wei Yang only smiled: “This matter should be discussed with Fuqin, but Fuqin is not home yet…”
Han shi smiled: “No need to worry, the Jiang family will send word of it soon.”
Their intention was to inform, not ask Li Xiao Ran for permission. Li Wei Yang looked down as if she had not heard its secondary meaning.
Er Furen inhaled sharply, this Jiang family was not only unreasonable but overbearing! When she returned to her parents’ home for a birthday occasion, she still needed Lao Furen’s permission, yet they could take someone away without having to say much.
Lao Furen was not happy at all. Even if her daughter-in-law had fallen ill, she had to remain with the Li family to recuperate. If she allowed Jiang Guogong Furen to take her away, under so many watchful eyes, who knows what others would say. She was prepared to decline: “Daughter-in-law should stay here where everyone has always taken good care of her. Is there something in-law Furen is dissatisfied with?”
However, Li Wei Yang smiled: “Lao Furen, it is only because Waizumu misses Muqin. Having seen Muqin’s current state, it is not suitable for her to remain this courtyard where she left to her thoughts all day as her condition worsens. That would not be for the best.”
Lao Furen looked to Li Wei Yang, puzzled. Da Furen returning home to recuperate was not a good thing, how could this child agree to it. Nevertheless, she trusted her granddaughter’s judgment, so she pondered over it before calmly saying: “In that case, in-law Furen should take her home to rest and recuperate then.”
Lin shi eyed Li Wei Yang in disdain, regretting not being able to tear her apart and drink her blood. Hearing this, she did not say anything more and ordered people to gather Da Furen’s belongings and quickly departed.