The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 97 - Part 2
Chapter 97: Jiang Family's Fourth Son
Thanks Chau for the visual!
If the names of these dishes weren’t too helpful (ie. Heavenly Duck), help yourself to this slideshow: https://tinyurl.com/y7sa4zxw
Li Min De was in the study, speaking with Zhao Nan when he looked up and saw Li Wei Yang.
She wore red and gold clothes with lily embroidery and pale pink, embroidered shoes. Her eyes were bright, but she seemed almost lifeless. She came in, saying: “I’m starving to death, what is there to eat?”
Li Min De and Zhao Nan looked at one another. Li Min De quickly asked her what was wrong.
“They didn’t let me eat anything in the palace.” Li Wei Yang tiredly said.
Li Min De rushed to have the kitchen prepare something. He looked at her and thought perhaps she had been hungry for a long time. Her appetite must have waned, so she should eat more digestible things. He also added: “Less oil and fats, prepare light dishes.”
Li Wei Yang heard this and said: “No need to be so specific. Leftovers from this afternoon will do. Hurry and bring them out.”
Li Min De was surprised, but if the kitchen was to cook something, it would take at least two hours, so there was no other choice. Soon, crispy chicken, sauteed eel, vinegar and pepper lion’s mane fungus, Heavenly Duck, bean curd pancakes… All of them were laid out on the table.Although these were leftovers from this afternoon, they had only been touched once or twice.
Li Wei Yang raised her chopsticks and dove in, surprising Li Min De. She looked over to Bai Zhi and Zhao Yue: “Come and eat, don’t just stand there.”
After waiting overnight for Xiaojie, the two Yatous were just as hungry. They did not decline and quickly joined her. At first, Li Min De was a bit worried, seeing Li Wei Yang with her head lowered and wholeheartedly focused on eating as if indulging in exquisite dishes. Her appetite certainly increased, but there was nothing more to it. He breathed a sigh of relief.
Jujube osmanthus cake was served as dessert. The pastry chefs used the hanging flour technique, putting the glutinous rice flour and water mixture in a bag and hanging it up to dry. Then jujubes, walnuts, osmanthus, apricots, and a dozen other fruits would be made into the filling for the glutinous rice cakes. These cakes each resembled the bright moon. They were sweet and refreshing, accompanied by a rich aroma with every bite. Li Min De had these prepared as a dessert for her last time. The moment they were brought out, Li Wei Yang felt her appetite immediately return. She ate every piece and finished it moments later, feeling as if she had been brought back to life.
Once she was finished with her meal, Li Min De asked her: “What happened today? Didn’t you say you would be back soon?”
Li Wei Yang sighed, feeling content: “I was copying Buddhist scriptures for the Empress Dowager. Then I ran into a minor issue that delayed my meal, but nothing concerning.”
A minor issue? She spoke of it dismissively, but Li Min De thought it was an understatement. Suddenly, Li Wei Yang looked up at Zhao Nan: “The young man you fought against that day, did he have angled eyes, a tall nose, fair complexion, strong stature and a proud nature?”
Zhao Nan was startled but immediately understood. He quickly nodded: “Xianzhu gave an accurate description. It was him indeed.”
So it was Jiang Si who saved Li Min Feng back then. Li Wei Yang furrowed her eyebrows as if pondering over it.
Li Min De caught on. He looked at Zhao and slightly frowned: “Someone from the Jiang family?”
Li Wei Yang nodded: “Si Shaoye of the Jiang family, Jiang Nan.” Then, she added as an afterthought, “I ran into him in the palace today.”
Li Min De nodded in acknowledgment. He did not think Jiang Si would dare to do anything to her in the palace, but precautions should be taken. One must be a bit more careful, having made an enemy out of the Jiang family.
“He is a man after all. In the end, what can he say to a little girl like me? Rest assured, even my jiujiu can’t directly discipline me.” Internal affairs within the household and matters in the Imperial court were closely related to one another. To keep the court in harmony, internal affairs must be going smoothly, but men cannot intervene in the conflicts between the Furens in the household.
One must rely on their own abilities to survive. The men of the Jiang family were capable, but could they run to Li Chang Le’s courtyard and teach her how to deal with Li Wei Yang? It was simply not practical. However, the Jiang family’s greatest fault was their habit of hiding the shortcomings of their own. She sent Da Furen off, so they certainly will not let this go. The case now was the uncertainty of how they would retaliate.
Now that Li Wei Yang finished her meal, Mo Zhu came in to report: “Xiaojie, Qi Yiniang sent someone over with a note this morning. Should Nubi bring it over so Xiaojie can take a look?”
Li Wei Yang thought about it and stood up: “I’ll go and see her.”
In Qi Yiniang’s courtyard, Tan shi was leaning against the side of the bed, embroidering a small bib.
Li Wei Yang looked over, her heart stirring. Her lips curved up as she called out: “Mother.”
Overjoyed, Tan shi set her embroidery down. She held onto Li Wei Yang’s hands and smiled: “You’re back. Are you hungry, let me prepare something for you.”
She must have known Li Wei Yang went to the palace. Li Wei Yang smiled: “I already ate. Mother, you don’t look too well.”
Tan shi touched her face and smiled: “It’s nothing concerning, it’s just my appetite has not been the same.”
Li Wei Yang said: “Mother, this courtyard can be renovated to be more elegant. I will have people buy new furnishings, but first off, Mother should come and stay at my place for a couple days. You can move back in once they have repainted, cleaned, reorganized and furnished the courtyard.”
“No need, this place is really good!” Tan shi hurriedly said, “No need to have people work on it!” She was already happy to move from a remote place to this small courtyard: “Da Furen just passed a way a month ago, it won’t be too good if I immediately move courtyards.”
Li Wei Yang shook her head: “I’m not afraid if anyone knows. Mother, just trust me.”
Li Wei Yang dared to say this, proof that she had things in control. Tan shi nodded, her eyes growing glassy with tears.
Li Wei Yang began: “I will come again the evening. Does Mother want to buy anything in particular? I’ll have someone buy it for you…”
Tan shi did not want to interrupt her daughter’s happiness and said: “I want something new and refreshing…”
Once Li Wei Yang finished asking, Tan shi’s eyes were still brimming with tears. Li Wei Yang’s heart softened. She always felt she had not treated Tan shi well, but Tan shi was touched by her concern, taking her by surprise. She had to turn her head away and look at the small bib: “Mother, who is this for?”
The small bib was embroidered with mandarin ducks and lotuses, detailed and delicate. Tan shi smiled and said: “Jiu Yiniang will give birth in two months. This is a gift for her.”
Li Wei Yang lowered the bib and lightly said: “Mother does not need to worry. There’s someone by her side who looks after her.” After Da Furen died, Jiu Yiniang moved back in. Li Wei Yang felt keeping a safe distance from this Yiniang was for the best. Although she had Jiu Yiniang’s weakness in hand. Although Jiu Yiniang did not betray them, it was because they temporarily shared a common enemy. Now that she was carrying a precious child, coupled with Fuqin’s high hopes for a male child… In any case, Li Wei Yang did not want the Li family to change whether Jiu Yiniang had a male or female child, but perhaps others may not agree.
At this moment, Tan shi suddenly began to retch. A Yatou rushed over with a basin. Tan shi retched for a while but did not vomit. Li Wei Yang’s eyes brightened up: “Mother?!”
Tan shi smiled, her face flushed for some reason: “I invited a physician to examine me. He said I was three months pregnant.”
Li Wei Yang was only suspicious at first, but she was surprised to hear this, Tan shi was pregnant? Heavens, was she about to have a little brother? This… How could this be? In the past life, Tan shi died too soon and did not have this child--
“With something this important, why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Li Wei Yang was overjoyed but also stunned.
Tan shi managed a small smile: “I just found out as well. During Da Furen’s funeral ceremony, I was busy and always felt light-headed. When the physician came to examine, I found out I was three months pregnant.”
After Da Furen fell ill, Si Yiniang and Liu Yiniang were fiercely at arms. Jiu Yiniang was pregnant, and Li Xiao Ran did not feel like marrying someone new, so he occasionally visited Tan shi. Compared to young women, Tan shi had a much calmer, understanding personality and was gentle and considerate. He felt at peace with her.
He would frequent her place five or six days a month. Others noticed, but because Tan shi was neutral and did not fight over anything, and Li Wei Yang was not an easy opponent that no one dared to come and cause trouble. Tan shi was thirty two years old this year and suddenly becoming pregnant was something unintended.
Li Wei Yang’s smile widened. She was rarely this happy. She was about to have a full-blooded brother! Her smile soon faded, “Does Fuqin know yet?”
Tan shi’s face quickly fell. She became a bit uneasy: “Laoye did not come over these past couple days. I plan to wait a few more days then tell him.”
Li Wei Yang nodded: “I will find a suitable opportunity to tell everyone.”
She said everyone, not just Li Xiao Ran. Obviously, that was quite the difference. Tan shi’s thoughts were simple, so she did not think much of it and only nodded.
Li Wei Yang turned around to Zhao Yue: “From today onwards, my mother will move to my courtyard. Pay careful attention to her everyday meals.”
She did not instruct Mo Zhu or Bai Zhi but only told Zhao Yue. Her intentions were clear. Now that Da Shaoye fell out of favor and Laoye did not have a favored son, whether it was Qi Yiniang or Jiu Yiniang, whoever had a son first, their child’s status will not be normal. Even Da Furen was waiting for the main household to not have an heir… Others may benefit, but Li Wei Yang had no need for such things. However, everyone else resembled prowling tigers, how could they simply ignore this?
Precautions must be taken!
Li Wei Yang reported this matter to Lao Furen and did not speak of anything else. She only said Qi Yiniang’s courtyard was too old and needed to be renovated. Tan shi should stay in her courtyard for the next two months. Lao Furen felt this was not a good idea. In such a large household, it would not be appropriate for a Yiniang to stay with a Xiaojie, but Li Wei Yang insisted. In any case, this was not a big deal, so Lao Furen later agreed.
A month passed uneventfully. At dinner, Lao Furen glanced at Jiu Yiniang’s swollen stomach with concern: “You will be giving birth in a month.”
Jiu Yiniang’s face flushed: “Yes.”
Lao Furen smiled and nodded before growing serious again: “That is good. I hope you all will make the branches of the Li family will grow and give me many grandchildren. Then, I will be happy.”
Hearing this, Li Xiao Ran gave Jiu Yiniang a look of satisfaction.
Er Furen pursed her lips. Her husband was concubine-born and always out of town. Lao Furen hardly bothered with him, so the children of the second household were not favored either. She thought that when Da Shaoye lost his father’s favor, her status in the Li family will be elevated. If Li Xiao Ran did not have an heir, then the entire Li family will belong to her son. Who would have thought Jiu Yiniang, that little fox would be with child, dashing her hopes.
Lao Furen sighed: “Your Furen is no longer with you. I know you are not feeling well and burdened, seeing you grow weaker these days with such dark, sunken eyes. Seeing you this unhappy makes me worry too.” Her mouth slightly curved up as if displeased. “Si Yiniang, you should advise Laoye not to do so!”
Only Jiu Yiniang, who was pregnant, was allowed to sit in a chair. Si Yiniang could only stand beside her. Her face grew anxious when she heard this: “Lao Furen is right, I will certainly advise Laoye.”
Liu Yiniang coldly looked on, not saying anything.
Lao Furen raised her cup of tea and sighed: “Although you have several concubines, you have too few children. It is time to acquire a couple more.”
Li Wei Yang had been quietly sitting and drinking tea suddenly looked up and faintly smiled. “Lao Furen, Fuqin, I have yet to congratulate you. Qi Yiniang has also been pregnant for four months.”
Li Xiao Ran was stunned and immediately rejoiced. He took Qi Yiniang’s hands into his, she had always been standing by his side: “Is what Wei Yang said true?”
Li Wei Yang’s smile was warm as the spring breeze: “Fuqin, even if your daughter was to ever joke around, still would never dare to take this lightly. Qi Yiniang’s health was declining, at first she thought it was just her stomach and invited a physician over. Then, she found out she was pregnant. She was careful, afraid she was mistaken, and invited three more physicians to examine her before announcing it.”
In other words, it was not that they hid this matter. Li Xiao Ran was simply overjoyed. At this age, he had few children, and then suddenly he was to have two more, wasn’t this a divine blessing?
In truth, he could not be blamed. If Da Furen had not intervened, he would have soon had many children.
Lao Furen was also happy and looked at Qi Yiniang: “Good thing, this is a good thing!”
Si Yiniang and Liu Yiniang looked at Qi Yiniang’s stomach bitterly with flames almost spewing from their eyes.
Jiu Yiniang’s smile was always faint like the soft clouds in the sky after the rain, vague as if hiding something. It left others unclear of her intentions behind that smile: “Wonderful, my child will have a companion in the future.”
Li Wei Yang looked at her. Jiu Yiniang immediately lowered her head as if afraid. Li Wei Yang discovered this woman was different from before. Seeing her enrobed in silk from head to toe, perhaps she had soon hoped to give birth to a son who could potentially inherit all of the Li family. Jiu Yiniang used to only have her lover in her heart, but now, perhaps she had become wholeheartedly devoted to wealth and glory. People naturally change!
Luo mama came in to report: “Lao Furen, Jiang Guogong Furen and Jiang Da Furen have arrived.”
Li Wei Yang looked over. Lao Furen helped Luo mama up from her bow: “Alright, there is something I must attend to. Stay for a bit longer, then return.”
Li Wei Yang saw Lao Furen leave. Lao Furen did not ask her to come along to receive their guests this time.
Li Xiao Ran looked at Tan shi’s stomach with great joy. He turned around and ordered: “Prepare everything for tonight. I will go to the ancestral hall to pray and thank the ancestors for their blessings.” He tightly held onto Qi Yiniang’s hand, “It must have been tiring on you.”
Qi Yiniang’s face reddened. She couldn’t say anything. She was genuine and loyal. Er Furen thought the same. She happened to look over at Li Wei Yang and pursed her lips, wondering how someone as sincere could give birth to a venomous scorpion.
Li Wei Yang did not pay attention to the stares. Her eyes remained on Lao Furen’s retreating figure. Her suspicions stirred. Jiang Xu returned to the Capital to report on his duties. Li Wei Yang thought he would make a move, but this entire time, everything has been calm and quiet. Jiang Guogong Furen and Jiang Xu’s Furen suddenly paid them a visit, what will happen then?
For some reason, her right eye kept twitching...
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