The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 95 - Part 1
Chapter 95: No Mercy
 Wu Xian Fei is technically not her real mother-in-law because Tuoba Zhen is her adopted son.
Imperial Palace, Imperial Garden
 Wu Xian Fei is technically not her real mother-in-law because Tuoba Zhen is her adopted son.
Beautiful flowers in full bloom lined the path and left a faint, enchanting fragrance in the air.
Li Wei Yang passed through the fields of flowers and saw a noble, honored consort sitting in the gazebo. A guarded smile appeared on her face.
Wu Xian Fei came from a prestigious household and was extraordinarily beautiful, but in the palace, what mattered most was neither one’s beauty nor background but whether they had an heir or not. Typically, a woman without an heir would struggle to survive in the palace, much less survive for many years. In contrast, Wu Xian Fei stood very firmly and could even adopt a son, raise him, and assist the Empress with matters in the inner palace for a decade. Not everyone had this ability.
The first time she met her mother-in-law, albeit only in name, her knees trembled. After a lifetime, Li Wei Yang believed she would be confident and calm enough to face “someone from her past.”
More than ten palace maids and eunuchs stood around the gazebo, all bowing, their eyes downcast. They seemed to be holding their breaths as not even a cough was heard. In the center of the gazebo was a beautiful, older woman, sitting upright. Her sleek, black hair was piled up in a trending style, shaped like clouds on the horizon. Her skin was smooth and delicate, even more radiant under the sun like beautiful jade. While her eyes were black, they were bright and lovely yet captivating. The red lips that had curved up into a small smile seemed to have a touch of nectar. She was smiling at Li Wei Yang. Her smile was warm and gentle, she seemed nothing like a scheming individual.
Li Wei Yang was not surprised to see Wu Xian Fei’s youthfulness and beauty. She knew precisely how much effort this consort devoted to maintaining her beauty. Every day, she had the palace maids collect morning dew and carefully filter it before using it for tea; pollen from a hundred flowers was gathered to make the most valuable type of fragrant face powder; the reddest and most lively flower petals and nectar were combined and distilled for seven days, then sundried for another seven days, following ancient techniques to remove the essence and make rouge. These priceless, extravagant items were stored in gold boxes and jade pots and used as part of her daily routine. By looking after her beauty in this manner, she could retain her lively youthfulness and the Emperor’s favor for so long.
In this world, nothing lasts without reason, nor is there anything that can be effortlessly obtained. This was the first lesson Wu Xian Fei taught Li Wei Yang.
Back then, Li Wei Yang had only entered the palace and did not know many people. She did not know how to help her husband while gaining others’ favor and approval. It was Wu Xian Fei who sternly yet gently taught her these things. Xian Fei seemed like a compassionate elder looking after her, so Li Wei Yang considered her to be close family. Unfortunately, she would later discover Wu Xian Fei had taught her so many things, not because she was her daughter-in-law, but so she would be the ideal stepping stone for Tuoba Zhen.
When she was met with misfortune, it was this gentle and noble “mother-in-law” that stood up and accused her of being wicked and selfish, and not virtuous nor talented enough to be Empress. It was then that Li Wei Yang realized others had treated her well, not because they cared for her, but because she was of some use to them. Once she was no longer useful, there was no need for her to exist anymore.
Li Wei Yang smiled and approached her before ceremonially greeting her.
As Li Wei Yang greeted her, Xian Fei was already evaluating her. At first glance, she felt that her fair-skinned, lively appearance, while it could not be considered beautiful, was charming nonetheless. Under her scrutinizing stare, Li Wei Yang could stand up straight and smile softly. If she was unaware of the latter’s schemes, she would have mistaken her for a shy xiao guniang. Wu Xian Fei was not a fool though. Li Wei Yang could quickly establish herself in the Li family and defeat her dimu and Dajie, whose beauty could make empires and cities to fall. She was not an ordinary person. These were just conflicts within the Li family, unrelated to Wu Xian Fei, until it involved Tuoba Zhen, which infuriated her. Not that she loved and cared for this son, this affected the endgame, so she could not idly stand by.
“This child, you seem very lovely and likeable, quickly stand up. Come here, come to me.” After Li Wei Yang had greeted her, Xian Fei warmly waved her over.
Li Wei Yang walked over with a smile. Xian Fei gently pulled her close while looking her up and down, then said to a nu guan beside her: “This child is lively and seems good-natured, I have heard praises from the Emperor and Empress Dowager, but have not met her yet. This occasion can be considered a coincidence, even a fated encounter.”
Of course it was fate, a great overwhelming fate. Li Wei Yang laughed and cleverly said: “Thank niang niang for the praise.”
Xian Fei nodded and complimented her. She began to speak, carefully starting out with small talk as intimately as elders of the house would, filling one’s heart with warmth. If Li Wei Yang was not aware of her antics, she may have fallen for it, thinking Xian Fei was kind-hearted when actually, the more Xian Fei smiled at someone, the sooner they would die. Her warmth and kindness towards Li Wei Yang now was definitely not a good sign.
Xian Fei suddenly took note of Li Wei Yang’s clothes and gently frowned: “Why are you wearing all white?”
Li Wei Yang simply said: “Mother passed away, Wei Yang does not dare to wear bright colors, and since mourning clothes are not allowed to be worn in the palace, Wei Yang can only choose light colors to wear.” She did not violate the mourning rites for Da Furen’s funeral, nor the restrictions in the palace, what else did Xian Fei want to say?
Xian Fei acted as if she did notice those intentions. Her smile became even more gentle: “I heard what happened to your Muqin, I remember there are several rolls of elegant and light silks in the storeroom, absolutely beautiful. Bring them here for Li Xiaojie. Think of it as a small token from me.”
A nu guan stepped forward and responded before quickly heading off.
Li Wei Yang looked at her retreating back, slightly frowning, then bowed and quietly said: “Thank niang niang, Wei Yang cannot accept such a gift.”
Xian Fei waved it off: “No need to be so polite! Think of it as a small, courtesy gift.” Then, she continued: “Unfortunately, you will be of marriageable age in two years, but since your Muqin passed away, this must be delayed for more than two years. By that time, you will be older and it may be difficult to get engaged.”
Li Wei Yang pretended not to have understood their hidden meanings and also expressed her regrets: “Wei Yang is not in a hurry, but Dajie is of age.” When she said this, she suddenly thought of something and hesitated, “But Dajie is different from Wei Yang. She has a heavenly beauty and is also zhang nu. San Dianxia and Wu Dianxia also like her. Dajie said once the mourning period ends, she will be engaged.”
Xian Fei’s face changed, a sharp gleam flashing across her eyes.
The jade token sent as proof of engagement for Li Chang Le was only to reassure the Li family and gain the Jiang family’s support. She was not satisfied with Li Chang Le at all. If Li Chang Le was still the renown, brilliant zhang nu of the Li family, letting Tuoba Zhen marry her as Zheng fei would be wise, but Li Chang Le was foolish and went to offer ill advice to the Emperor and displeased others wherever she went. Wu Huangzi wanted to marry her but was angrily scolded by the Emperor. If she was to arrange for Tuoba Zhen’s marriage with Li Chang Le, it would bring her endless trouble.
No matter how troublesome it was, it was still much better than Tuoba Zhen taking advantage of their family’s funeral to act dishonorably with Da Xiaojie of the Li family. If Xian Fei sat on the sidelines and allowed this to spread, its impact on Tuoba Zhen would be much greater than on the Li family. Xian Fei had no choice but to send the jade token, perhaps stall for time. Xian Fei felt even more frustrated now that Li Wei Yang brought it up. She did not reveal it, but she was indeed very upset.
“Silly child, I am talking about you. Your Dajie naturally has your Fuqin taking care of her. I just wanted to ask about you out of concern and said some things, don’t mind them.” Xian Fei recollected herself in an instant, her facial expressions back to normal.
“Xian Fei jiejie seems lively, what are you doing so early in the morning?” A voice took Xian Fei by surprise. She turned back, her smile widened: “So it is De Fei meimei.”
Zhang De Fei wore purple, gauze garments with floral and wisps of smoke patterns. A red onyx hairpin rested on her head, making her seem even more extravagant than Xian Fei, who seemed subtle and elegant in comparison.
She walked into the gazebo with her attendants gathered around her. Her eyes were calm like deep waters, undisturbed. The green tassel hanging from the hairpin swayed with her soft footsteps, shining brightly. Seeing Li Wei Yang, she smiled faintly: “I wonder why Xianzhu came to the palace this early.”
Li Wei Yang bowed and greeted her but secretly shook her head. That was already known throughout the palace the moment she arrived. The Imperial palace was never the place where secrets could be kept. Whether it was Xian Fei or De Fei, they already knew about this before they came.
What Xian Fei just said revealed that she was asking about the Li family affairs, but what about De Fei? What was her motive? Li Wei Yang already said she had nothing to do with Qi Huangzi. Did she think otherwise? She could sympathize with a Muqin who wanted to protect her children, but if De Fei became overbearing, she would certainly retaliate. Then, Tuoba Yu would be involved and their original plans would be compromised. It would be a messy ending, and besides, she did not want to destroy this pawn yet.
“I felt Xianzhu was lively and sincere, so I kept her behind to talk for a bit, and then meimei arrived.” Wu Xian Fei smiled softly.
Zhang De Fei also smiled. Li Wei Yang looked like an innocent child, but it was only a facade. There was more to that girl than what meets the eye. She was careless in the confrontation last time, letting this xiao Yatou play with her. Someone with such thoughts at a young age was not an ordinary person. Pity they were no longer on good terms, else she would be useful. What she was attempting was very dangerous. At times, one misstep would render every following step to be wrong.
A cruel light crossed De Fei’s eyes. For some reason, when she saw this little girl and how she did not seem to be affected by the punishment, De Fei had a strange feeling. Li Wei Yang always said she needed a loyal husband and would not allow for concubines. The more Yu er insisted on marrying her, the greater the need to get rid of her became. Otherwise, Yu er will fall for her and forget greater responsibilities, it would be disastrous!
Off to the side, Wu Xian Fei idly looked on. Her gold and jade, lotus charm bracelet glimmered like water under the sunlight. This performance was intriguing indeed. She began to feel that Li Wei Yang was a scheming Yatou, but De Fei was hardly an easy opponent either.
Zhang De Fei’s beautiful eyes fell on Li Wei Yang and smiled, but her smile was brimming with hostility.
An eunuch came carrying a jade and gold box from the other side of the garden. He greeted De Fei and Xian Fei before announcing: “Bixia presents De Fei niang niang a gold, eight tailed phoenix hairpin, and Xian Fei niang niang a jade and glass lamp.”
When the box was opened, there was indeed an extravagant eight-tailed phoenix hairpin made of gold. Next to it was a green, jade and glass lamp.
Zhang De Fei smiled and ordered the eunuch to come over. A delicate hand picked up the gold hairpin and brought it up to carefully inspect. She smiled: “At this age, Bixia still sees me as a xiao guniang. The gold hairpin is truly beautiful, but these multicolored gems are perhaps more suited for those Xianzhu’s age.” She idly pointed at Li Wei Yang’s head, as if intending to give her the hairpin.
Li Wei Yang stepped back and respectfully said: “In Bixia’s heart, niang niang will always be young and beautiful. With Wei Yang’s humble background, Wei Yang does not dare to hope for much.”
Zhang De Fei smiled and placed the gold hairpin back in the box and inadvertently asked: “Well, Lan er, escort Xianzhu out then.”
A beautiful nu guan stepped up and heeded her orders. She faintly smiled and led Li Wei Yang outside.
This nu guan named Lan er had a simple but pleasant appearance. Along the way, she gently said: “Xianzhu, watch your step.” Then later, “Xianzhu, slow down a bit.” Occasionally, she would point out places and things in the palace to Li Wei Yang: “This is De Fei niang niang’s favorite Feng Wei chrysanthemum. That is the Empress’s favorite five petal peony…” Her voice was soft and gentle, pleasant to the ear as if she were putting in effort.
Li Wei Yang calmly looked at her. She did not think she was mistaken, Zhang De Fei’s cold stare was murderous. She wanted to take her life! Why let an opportunity pass by like that so easily?
“What is Xianzhu thinking about?” Lan er asked with a smile.
Li Wei Yang looked over as if recalling something: “I think the nu guan from the Empress Dowager’s palace must be wondering where I am right now?”
Lan er’s smile briefly froze, then she continued as usual: “Yesterday, our niang niang put together a Buddhist volume for the Empress Dowager and wanted to personally bring it to her this morning. Niang niang met Xian Fei niang niang in the garden, exchanged a few words, and ordered that nu guan to deliver the Buddhist volume to the Empress Dowager, so she will not have to wait.”
“Oh, so that was how it was.” Li Wei Yang seemed to understand.
Lan er softly laughed: “Xianzhu, please come this way.”
Li Wei Yang pretended not to know and continued ahead. This was the way out of the palace. Of course, Li Wei Yang was not mistaken. She had been in this Imperial Palace countless of times. Lan er did not use the opportunity to lead her somewhere else. Then, Zhang De Fei arranged for Lan er to lead her outside, but what for? If it was to kill her outside the palace, then that was impossible.
At the palace gates, Lan er informed her: “The Li carriage is waiting on the small road outside. Wish Xianzhu a safe trip.” She reached out and led Li Wei Yang out by the arm. Li Wei Yang stiffened, then cast Lan er a cautious look, her expressions calm yet warm: “Thank you.”
The palace gates were right in front of her, but she had barely taken a step when a clamor rose behind her: “Seize her!”
She turned around. Numerous guards had gathered behind her.
Li Wei Yang wryly smiled: “What is the meaning of this?”
Lan er also seemed surprised: “This is Anping Xianzhu, leaving the palace on the Empress Dowager’s orders. What are you trying to do?”
A commanding officer walked up and ordered: “Xianzhu, do not leave the palace yet. De Fei niang niang is waiting!”
Li Wei Yang sneered, so it really doesn’t end here!