The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 98 - Part 1
Chapter 98: Closer Than Ever
Paternal female cousin
Li Wei Yang wanted to know what Jiang Guogong Furen and Jiang Da Furen had done that day, but Lao Furen was evasive and did not reveal anything. Li Wei Yang disliked unpredictable people and situations the most and was left in the dark about this.
On one morning half a month later, Li Wei Yang went to offer well wishes to Lao Furen. They talked for a while, then Lao Furen slowly set down her cup of tea: “Wei Yang, there is something I want to tell you.”
Li Wei Yang nodded with a smile: “Go ahead, Lao Furen.”
Lao Furen began: “In truth, it’s not a big deal. I plan to let your Fuqin remarry.” She did not need to say anything about Li Xiao Ran’s new wife to the children, but Li Wei Yang was different. Lao Furen always wanted to talk with her whenever something happened.
Li Xiao Ran’s Furen had died, so naturally, he must marry someone else. No matter who it was, Jiu Yiniang or Si Yiniang and Jiu Yiniang, both of whom were always favored these past years, no one had the right to become Furen. It had nothing to do with the favor they received nor the children they had. It was simply their status.
Li Wei Yang did not expect Lao Furen to bring this up so quickly. In any case, when the wife of a prestigious, noble household dies, one must wait a year before remarrying. If someone was to remarry three months after their wife died, it would attract others’ ridicule. Li Wei Yang thought it would be at least a year before Li Xiao Ran remarried. She had not expected it to be so soon until Lao Furen mentioned it.
There was no female head of household now. This was ideal for her, so she did not want anyone else involved. However, since Lao Furen mentioned it, she must have made up her mind. Li Wei Yang smiled: “I wonder which household’s daughter it must be.”
Lao Furen, seeing she did not express the slightest displeasure, smiled and nodded: “It is Guang Ming General’s daughter.”
Guang Ming General? Li Wei Yang was a bit surprised, then immediately realized. Her smile began to fall: “Is that Muqin’s tang mei?”
Guang Ming General was a 4th rank general in the Imperial court and Jiang Xu’s tang di. He had always followed Jiang Xu on his military campaigns. Three years ago, he returned to the Capital to mourn his Muqin’s passing. Wasn’t his daughter also the late Da Furen’s tang mei? Li Wei Yang quickly understood what Jiang Guogong Furen came for last time.
“Yes, she is your Muqin’s tang mei. She will be eighteen this year. She should have been married three years ago, but her zumu passed away, so she had to remain in the home and mourn for three years.”
At the age of eighteen, she was just a few years older than Li Wei Yang herself. In any case, this was nothing strange. When the scholar Liu Shang remarried, the bride was even younger than his youngest grandchild.
Li Xiao Ran was in his prime and at the height of his career with status and authority. Countless noble households had their sights set on him. For those with equal or higher status, they may feel they have lost some status by entering the Li family. As for those with more humble origins, they would not dare to dream of climbing so high. The families in between did not have suitable candidates, so Li Wei Yang thought Lao Furen would bring this up a year later or so. Arranging the marriage would take at least two years, except now, there was an unexpected candidate, personally introduced by the Jiang family.
“Has a date been decided?” Li Wei Yang asked with a smile.
Lao Furen pondered over it: “Let the year long mourning period pass first.”
Li Wei Yang nodded. Neither said anything more and just looked at one another.
Lao Furen heaved a sigh: “I know you will be conflicted, but I also did not have a choice in the matter. The Jiang family was persistent and even had the Empress offer a few words on their behalf. One of the Empress’s close nuguans also came here that day.”
“The Empress?” Since when did the Jiang family align themselves with Taizi? Li Wei Yang was taken aback, but then realized the Jiang family was not worried about gossip. The Empress could naturally pressure the Li family, considering how they would have to “respect the wise.” The Jiang Xiaojie was also of age and an appropriate upbringing. Lao Furen had no reason to refuse. At best, it would be delayed by a year. The Jiang family was not to be taken lightly. They came prepared, determined to not give the Li family an excuse. They would certainly have other methods if the Li family found an excuse to refuse that Jiang Xiaojie. Perhaps they already had seven or eight other candidates lined up.
Li Wei Yang had to laugh. She underestimated the Jiang family, thinking Jiang Rou’s death would make them falter. Who would have thought they would ruthlessly persist and immediately send someone new over.
“It seems Da jiujiu is also returning to the Capital because of this.” Li Wei Yang slowly said. Of course, she did not completely believe Lao Furen’s reasoning. Establishing familial ties with the Jiang family a second time had many complications. As for what they were, no one would explain themselves to her. In the end, they were only reporting back: rain is on its way, and someone will be married. This was not something she could stop. Li Wei Yang wondered what kind of person the future Li Furen would be… What will happen when she arrives?
At the moment, she was only concerned about one thing: “Lao Furen, there is something your granddaughter wants to say but is unsure of whether or not to say it.”
Lao Furen nodded: “Go ahead.”
Li Wei Yang lowered her gaze: “Jiu Yiniang and Qi Yiniang are with child, what if…”
Lao Furen frowned: “She wouldn’t dare. Not with my grandchildren, no one is to have ill intentions!”
With Lao Furen’s reassurance, Li Wei Yang smiled: “Lao Furen is very kind.”
As she was leaving He Xiang Courtyard, Li Wei Yang let out a weary sigh.
Bai Zhi softly whispered: “Xiaojie, is Laoye about to marry a new Furen?”
Li Wei Yang chuckled: “That’s right. I’m about to have a new mother.” This Muqin even came from the Jiang family, which was unpleasant to think about, but she felt Jiang Xiaojie suffered a greater loss. She could have been rightfully married into a prestigious household, but now, she would enter the Li family as a the second wife and also deal with several daughters around her age, so it was understandable.
As Li Wei Yang thought about it, she smiled. Bai Zhi did not know why she was smiling and thought her anger had turned into hysteria and grew worried: “Has Xiaojie lost it?”
Mo Zhu cut in: “Don’t worry, Xiaojie. Nubi asked around earlier. That Jiang Xiaojie is only eighteen year old and is the eldest daughter, but her Muqin died when she was young, so she was left under her stepmother’s care. Nubi hears she is amiable, kind, exceptionally beautiful, and is knowledgeable in qin, painting, chess, and poetry. She seems to have the reputation of a gentle lady. Perhaps she does not have ulterior motives.”
Something inside Li Wei Yang flared: “It’s not as simple as you think. This candidate was carefully selected by the Jiang family. Just wait and see.”
First of all, this person was from the Jiang family. Her father must rely on to Jiang Xu to live from day to day. She naturally had to take care of Jiang Rou’s children and try to establish her influence. This marriage clearly was to deal with Li Wei Yang!
The Jiang family sheltered their own and overlooked their shortcomings, deeply begrudging Da Furen’s death. However, Li Wei Yang rarely left the residence. Even if they were capable, they only had influence in the Imperial court, not the Inner Palace. Although Jiang Si had provoked Li Wei Yang, he did not have the chance to find her and resolve loose ends and could only gnash his teeth. In any case, they could not overshadow Li Xiao Ran in terms of his position and power. If Li Wei Yang did not go outside at all, they could not cause trouble for her that way, but if a new Furen appeared inside the Li family, everything will change.
The new Furen will discipline shu children in place of her husband. That was the way it has always been. Even if she was just eighteen years old, Li Wei Yang would have to obediently call her Muqin. The Jiang family’s intentions were truly lethal.
Mo Zhu did not think so: “The marriage is still in the distant future. They will also have wait out the year long mourning period, otherwise, what will people say?”
Indeed, there was still at least half a year left to go before someone would be married in. Li Wei Yang smiled. Some things cannot be changed, so it was best to let them go.
When Li Wei Yang returned to her courtyard, she found Jiu Yiniang there, half a month away from her due date and wearing a new, purple michelia embroidered dress with jasper beads and pearls on her head. It was a fresh and beautiful look with a unique charm. There were many fine silks in every possible color on the table. Jiu Yiniang smiled and said: “This is what Laoye sent over. I picked out four. Xianzhu and Qi Yiniang, please choose a few.”
Li Wei yang smiled thinly: “Thank you, Jiu Yiniang.” Although Fuqin was happy that Qi Yiniang was with child, he still had high hopes for Jiu Yiniang. Anything good would be sent to her first. Fortunately, Qi Yiniang was not someone who paid attention to these things, but if Jiu Yiniang wanted to send something over, she could have just sent someone. However, she personally came, as if wanting to brag.
The old Jiu Yiniang would not dare, having witnessed Li Wei Yang’s cruel methods of disposal. Except now that she was with child, it was almost as if she had a gold placard that could spare her from death. She had soon forgotten her former, despairing life, and Li Wei Yang’s knowledge of her past always made her uneasy, so she wanted to find a chance to silence Li Wei Yang.
Qi Yiniang gently smiled: “Wei yang, Jiu Yiniang personally came with silks and even gifted a small, beautiful blanket.”
Jiu Yiniang had a slightly embarrassed smile: “The bib Qi Yiniang sent was lovely and thoughtful. I had nothing to give in return, but even so, preparing a hundred things was worthwhile. Once the child is born, I will find a more suitable gift.”
Jiu Yiniang had good feelings towards Jiu Yiniang and smiled: “Still half a month left. Meimei should be more careful, especially since you’re about to give birth.”
Jiu Yiniang warmly pulled Qi Yiniang’s hands towards her and sat down: “Speaking of me, this will be my first child. I don’t know much, so jiejie must guide me.”
Li Wei Yang looked at the set of pillows and padded blanket and held it up to examine as if intrigued. Jiu Yiniang glanced at her. Upon making eye contact, she felt her heart suddenly leap. She touched the swaying jasper beaded flower on her head as if hiding something, the beads reflecting her current state of mind.
Li Wei Yang smiled faintly: “This bedding set has sophisticated embroidery.”
Relieved, Jiu Yiniang’s smile was soft but hidden: “That is a high praise from Xianzhu.”
Li Wei Yang returned the smile in a gentle, almost deadly manner: “Bai Zhi, lead everyone else out.”
Bai Zhi was initially startled but obeyed her order, leading the seven or eight Yatous in the room out. Moments later, only Li Wei Yang, Qi Yiniang, Jiu Yiniang and a few trusted servants were left in the room.
Li Wei Yang lifted the small blanket and suddenly slammed it down on the table in front of Jiu Yiniang.
Qi Yiniang was stunned and thoroughly confused.
Jiu Yiniang was trembling, beginning to break out into a cold sweat: “Xianzhu, what is the meaning of this?”
“Jiu Yiniang, you are carrying a precious shaoye. Is that why the child my mother is carrying has to die? Who doesn’t love their child, but resorting to such vicious means? Are you living so comfortably that you are now doing these things to pass time?” Li Wei Yang coldly said.
Qi Yiniang was slightly shaken. It was as if someone poked her forehead, and she began to understand. Could there be something wrong with the bedding set? Cold sweat began to break out as she looked to Jiu Yiniang in horror.
Jiu Yiniang leapt to her feet, her eyes full of unease and fear as she desperately said: “Xianzhu, what are you saying, as if I would use such lowly means to harm Qi Yiniang!”
Li Wei Yang smiled: “This blanket—”
Jiu Yiniang preemptively interjected: “The blanket and pillows are made of the finest silks and are very soft and suitable for children!”
A cold glint crossed Li Wei Yang’s eyes: “Bai Zhi, bring some scissors over!”
Bai Zhi complied and brought scissors over on a tray. Li Wei Yang sneered. A single “shh” sliced through the blanket and cut it open. Qi Yiniang was afraid something inside would fall out and hurt Li Wei Yang and subconsciously stepped forward, except there was only pure, white cotton inside.
Jiu Yiniang looked over and sneered: “Xianzhu, I always thought we were on the same side. Who would have thought Xianzhu would even take precautions against me? This blanket was made with the finest cotton. If I put poisonous insects inside, let me be struck by the Heavens—”
Qi Yiniang saw nothing strange inside the blanket and hastily said: “Wei Yang, why did you misunderstand Jiu Yiniang’s intentions? Quickly mend the blanket.”
Li Wei Yang sneered and shook up the cotton in the quilt. Cotton swiftly flew all over the place, making Jiu Yiniang, coupled with her morning sickness, cough a few times. The Yatous by her side quickly shielded her, their eyes widening: “What does Xianzhu mean by this? Nubi’s Yiniang sent things over with good intentions. If Xianzhu does not appreciate the gesture, then so be it, but why make Yiniang uncomfortable. Although Yiniang is not of the same status, she is with child now, if you have any misgivings, we will not hesitate to go to Laoye and seek judgment!”
Li Wei Yang’s sharp voice was brimming with fury: “Is that so? Cotton is heavy, and seeing how high these things are in the air, these are obviously reeds! Newborn children’s bodies are weak and could suffocate to death if the reeds inside the blanket fall out. Even if they were fortunate and could avoid this, this blanket is thin enough for a newborn to catch a cold. A newborn won’t be able to withstand this and will end up dying prematurely! Jiu Yiniang, you have the right to love your child, but why do you have to harm my di di?”
Jiu Yiniang revealed a look of disbelief: “Xianzhu… I had no idea—”
Li Wei Yang looked at her coldly in disgust. She slowly began: “You are the one who brought it here, how could you not know?”
“I… I…” Jiu Yiniang originally did not want to target Qi Yiniang, but she was about to give birth. If it was a son, there was a good chance he will be the heir of the Li family. For some reason, as another rival appeared, she felt the need to scheme to secure her child’s future. Although she was worried about Li Wei Yang, she only saw her opponent as an unmarried Yatou. Even if she was capable and insightful, she was still inexperienced. Of course, how could she have known that about Li Wei Yang’s many years in living in palace strife?
She could only think of Li Wei Yang’s cruel disposal of Lin mama. Her hands had gone weak, and she looked as if she was about to fall to her knees. Li Wei Yang stepped up and even helped her up with a smile: “Jiu Yiniang, your child will be born soon. I suggest you spend less time minding other people’s business and take care of your child, as you should.”
Qi Yiniang’s usually peaceful expressions were replaced with fear, worry, and suspicion. She did not understand how Jiu Yiniang, who seemed weak and fragile, think of such a wicked way of harming an unborn child. Perhaps Jiu Yiniang had already decided to act, even if Qi Yiniang had a daughter. If it turned out to be a son, then to what extent… She felt even more afraid just thinking about it.
Jiu Yiniang clenched her jaw, brimming with tears, but she was terrified and hardly able to speak.
Li Wei Yang smiled faintly: “Jiu Yiniang, if Fuqin sees you making a face like that in my courtyard, won’t he think I’m harassing you?!”
Jiu Yiniang blinked, trying to keep her tears from falling. She awkwardly began to kneel in front of Qi Yiniang: “Jiejie, I was momentarily blinded, but I had no other choice. I have no support in the Li family, and I was tempted to consider it…”
Qi Yiniang reached out, intending to help her up before remembering the vicious scheme earlier. She trembled, but she was still a kind and forgiving person. She only hesitated for a bit, then quickly helped Jiu Yiniang up: “Stand up first, then we will talk.”
With Jiu Yiniang’s swollen stomach, she could not possibly kneel down, so she straightened and stood up. She uneasily eyed Li Wei Yang. Qi Yiniang only played a minor role, the most terrifying person was Li Wei Yang!