The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 100 - Part 2
Chapter 100: Fearless and Invincible
After a brief exchange of words, Li Weiyang and Li Min De returned to their respective rooms. The next morning, even before the sky was lit, she was woken up by Baizhi. “San Xiaojie, the new Furen is supposed to offer tea to Lao Furen today.”
Li Weiyang nodded. She washed up, got dressed, and after having a simple breakfast, headed towards He Xiang Yuan.
Zhaoyue gave a whispered report. “Xiaojie, in the middle of the night, Jiu Yiniang said she felt uncomfortable and kept crying and whining. Her antics managed to lure Laoye away.”
Li Weiyang froze in her steps, seeming shocked into silence. She broke out into a smile moments later. “How did the blushing bride react?”
“Well… what happened was unprecedented. Everyone thought that the new Furen would be angry, but who would have expected her to change out of her bridal gown and bring gifts personally to visit Jiu Yiniang? She even summoned a physician for her in the middle of the night… So afterwards, everyone said that Jiu Yiniang was spoilt and proud, and that she had gone overboard. The new Furen however, is magnanimous and kind enough to tolerate her!”
Li Weiyang did not stop walking, but she began to form a sliver of hesitation towards Jiang Yuelan. If it had been any other newlywed bride, she would have cried and made a fuss, but she actually went to visit her rival personally; this type of generosity was overwhelming.
From the other side, Mozhu piped up quietly. “Who knows if she’s just acting?”
“Even if it was an act, would you be able to do it if it was you in her place?” Li Weiyang answered with a smile.
Mozhu was tongue tied, and she could not bring herself to say yes. Everyone knew what was the right thing to do, but did not have that kind of tolerance to perform it. A legitimate Furen could lower her esteemed status to treat a concubine; such an eye-opener. This Jiang Yuelan, if she was not truly compassionate, it would mean that her cunning went deeper than anyone knew.
As He Xiang Yuan drew nearer, it was obvious that many people had flocked there; one could hear their laughter drifting from miles again. Li Weiyang’s steps were steady and sure as she walked in lightly.
Jiang Yuelan was dressed in an embroidered scarlet gown, her silky dark hair adorned with a gold hair accessory and combed into an updo marking her as a married woman. She looked more radiant and beautiful than she did yesterday night. Li Xiaoran was next to her, wearing deep green robe and sitting up straight and tall. He looked imposing and strong.
A bright smile lit up Li Weiyang’s face, and after curtseying to her elders, she stood to the side, joining Li Changxiao.
After Jiang Yuelan offered the customary cup of tea to Lao Furen, she was gifted with a generous red packet, and a rare smile from her usually stern face. “You’ve entered the Li Residence and is part of our family now, so I hope that you will take care of everyone here, as well as play your role in expanding it. If there is anything you’re not used to, you can tell me. If there is anything you need, you can also tell Luo Mama…” Her words were simple, but it held volumes.
Jiang Yuelan made a sound of assent, but she seemed like she suddenly had a thought and turned to look at Li Xiaoran, a faint blush staining her cheeks and looking very shy. It seems like they had managed to complete their consummation, after visiting Jiu Yiniang yesterday night. As such unfillal thoughts went through her mind, Li Weiyang couldn’t help but feel slightly awed by this new Furen. It was indeed Jiu Yiniang’s fault for not knowing her own place, even if she was a favoured concubine. Jiang Yuelan maintained her docile and gentle smile throughout, and even when she locked eyes with Li Weiyang, her gaze was calm, with no trace of emotion except warmth and friendliness. It made Li Weiyang feel as if she was too devious and sly; she was the perfect image of a gracious and gentle stepmother!
Lao Furen glanced at everyone present. “Changle, Weiyang, come over here and greet your Muqin formally.”
The three Xiaojies of the Li Residence, Li Changle, Li Weiyang and Li Changxiao stepped out from the sides of the hall, with smiles on their faces. “Greetings to Muqin.”
They had already seen each other yesterday, but today morning was the formal meeting.
Jiang Yuelan’s warm smile was markedly different from the deceased Da Furen’s. Although Da Furen appeared kind and magnanimous, she could not hide her pride and superiority towards others. However, the new Furen felt approachable and friendly.
Li Weiyang thought back about Jiang Yuelan; she’d lost her mother at a young age, so she had to be brought up by her stepmother, along with seven other sisters born from different mothers. One would expect her life to be filled with hardships, but according to Li Min De’s information, Jiang Yuelan’s growing years were not only smooth sailing; she was held in high regard by her stepmother, and doted on by her father.
There were only two possibilities. One: this stepmother was magnanimous and treated her stepchildren as if they were also her flesh and blood. However, it was a slim chance, as it usually was an awkward role for the new wife to fill in. Her children would be legitimate, but their position in the family would still be slightly lower than the first wife’s; due to this reason, stepmothers would generally be wary against them. In more prominent families, good marriages would be prioritised for the first wife’s daughters as well. Making this move would be a benefit for her family, but there was no consideration for her personal happiness.
Two: This Jiang Yuelan knew perfectly how to treat people, obtaining her stepmother’s joy and trust, and hence ensuring that she would get the best deal amongst her sisters.
Bystanders who didn’t know better might feel that Jiang Yuelan was on the losing end for marrying Li Xiaoran; a man nearing his forties, with a handful of children and concubines under his roof. However, he was blessed with elegant looks, so he seemed like he was in his thirties. He was also the Prime Minister; a position which held power and respect. Given his mild temperament and normal behaviour, plus the glory of being the Prime Minister’s wife, it was a far better deal than marrying a lowly official. A lucrative match like this would not be offered to Jiang Yuelan if she did not occupy a special position in her family.
As Li Weiyang pondered, she heard Jiang Yuelan instruct a servant next to her. “Take out the red packets and distribute them to the ladies.”
Smiling as she received her gift, Li Weiyang stepped back, glancing at Qi Yiniang, who was carrying her chubby baby brother. She lowered her gaze, not saying a word.
After meeting the daughters, now would be the various Yiniangs’ turn to meet the new Furen. Jiang Yuelan seemed to like children very much; her slender fingers squeezed Li Min Zhi’s cheeks lightly. “This child is very adorable.”
Of course he was cute, Li Weiyang thought, but this was not merely her own praise. Li Min Zhi had Qi Yiniang’s large eyes, nose, and rosebud mouth, and he loved to smile at everybody. His toothless grin made him seem tender and plump, making him extremely lovable; no wonder Li Xiaoran and the usually strict Lao Furen could not help but smile back at him.
Children should usually be crying more often than not; Li Weiyang was troubled at how her brother smiled too easily at everyone and anyone.
Little Min Zhi did not know the frustration his sister felt; he continued grinning cheekily from ear to ear. Jiang Yuelan could hardly bear to let go; she cuddled him for almost an hour before handing Min Zhi back to Qi Yiniang, who could only watch. With a cold and calculating gaze, Li Weiyang evaluated that silly and naïve Min Zhi would most probably be easily bribed by others with just a single sweet treat.
When it came to Jiu Yiniang’s turn, Jiang Yuelan stretched out her arms, wanting to carry little Chang Jing, but Jiu Yiniang purposely took a step backwards. She awkwardly smiled as she realised that her move had captured everyone’s attention. “Furen, this child is a cry-baby, I fear that she will disturb you.”
Li Xiaoran and Lao Furen’s face darkened, both of them thinking similarly: This Jiu Yiniang is too ignorant and unbecoming.
Jiang Yuelan maintained her composure, smiling kindly. “It is no problem, she’s just a child afterall!”
Perhaps it was Jiang Yuelan’s red dress that startled the little girl; Chang Jing started crying, tears and snot flowing freely down her plump cheeks. Jiu Yiniang hastily tried to soothe her, but Li Xiaoran frowned. “Bring her away!” Jiu Yiniang left hurriedly, clutching her baby.
Li Weiyang watched her leave the hall, her expression folding into one of serious thought. By rights, Jiu Yiniang shouldn’t be that scared of Jiang Yuelan, but why did she look so haunted by fear just now? It was almost as if she was scared that Jiang Yuelan would snatch her child away from her?! Why? An alarm bell triggered Li Weiyang’s memory; she pinned her scrutiny towards Min Zhi, with a strange emotion on her face.
Min Zhi had no idea why his sister put on such a weird expression; he gurgled with laughter, completely oblivious to the crisis that was looming on the horizon…
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