Chapter 98: Closer Than Ever

 [1] Qi Huangzi’s second maternal uncle is the Duke of Guan Tao, presumably a very rich man [2] Li Daren: referring to Li Xiao Ran as Lord Li or Official Li  


Jiu Yiniang had not expected this and immediately paled.
She looked to Li Wei Yang in shock, barely managing to choke out: “How could it be so soon?”Li Wei Yang coldly reminded her: “Muqin just passed away.
There cannot be an absence of the female head of household, so the date to marry Jiang shi has been set.”Jiu Yiniang could not believe it.
She thought remarrying a new Furen would something in the distant future and had not expected a candidate to be confirmed three months after Da Furen’s passing.
Not to mention, this person was also from the same family.Li Wei Yang softly added: “Jiu Yiniang, Da ge is no longer in the residence, and Fuqin has no other sons, so it’s normal for him to have high hopes for your child.
The only thing is that this new Furen will only be eighteen and will certainly give birth to a rightful heir…”Jiu Yiniang was overcome with fear, finally understanding Li Wei Yang’s intentions.
The new Furen will be young and beautiful, capturing Laoye’s attention.
Even if she managed to give birth to a son, her child would still be concubine-born.
If the new Furen also had a son, would Laoye still treasure her child? The new Furen’s son will be the rightful heir!Not to mention, when the new Furen arrives, she will naturally feel aggrieved towards the Yiniangs with children, especially Jiu Yiniang if she had a son.
Perhaps she may even become a thorn in the new Furen’s eye! Li Wei Yang was reminding her that she should be thinking of how to deal with the new Furen instead of targeting Qi Yiniang!

Li Wei Yang approached her and warmly extended a hand.
She grasped Jiu Yiniang’s trembling fingers with a smile: “Isn’t it clear what your greatest priority should be?”Jiu Yiniang was startled: “What?”Li Wei Yang’s small smile faded: “At this time, your greatest priority should be to give birth to a healthy child and protect it from those with malicious intentions.”Stunned, Jiu Yiniang felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.
Her entire body stiffened.
She broke into a cold sweat, feeling as if a tiny insect was slowly crawling over her, leaving a cold sensation in its wake.What she did today more or less came from Si Yiniang.
Now, it seems – everything was in Li Wei Yang’s hands! She was simply suicidal to go looking for death’s doors! However, she still remembered the things in the past and hesitated.
She cautiously looked up at Li Wei Yang: “Then, Xianzhu…”Li Wei Yang smiled: “I know what Yiniang is worried about, but my hands are definitely not any cleaner than yours, so you don’t have to worry.
I won’t tell Fuqin because I still need your help when that person steps foot in through the doors!”Jiu Yiniang felt her body relax: “If there’s something I can help with, I will do my best.”Li Wei Yang slightly narrowed her eyes and did not say anything else.
There vaguely seemed to be wry humor and ridicule in her eyes.Jiu Yiniang departed.
Li Wei Yang watched her leave.
Her smile gradually froze like a blossoming snow flower with an indescribable chill.Qi Yiniang was a bit worried: “Wei Yang—”Li Wei Yang gently offered a few words of reassurance, then let Mo Zhu help Qi Yiniang back to her room.
She sat down and picked up a book.
She barely read two lines before tossing the book aside.Worried that she was frustrated, Bai Zhi brought tea over: “Xiaojie, this new chrysanthemum tea is good for dispelling heat.
Xiaojie, try some.”Li Wei Yang smiled and glanced at Bai Zhi: “You thought I was angry?”Bai Zhi softly said: “Xiaojie has not treat Jiu Yiniang poorly.
If not for Xiaojie, she would not be able to live to this day, much less be with child and have a higher status.
Even if she has a son, not many people in the residence want to see her get what she wants.
When Xiaojie no longer helps her, she will run into a dead end.”Li Wei Yang smiled softly: “She was only being used by others like a dagger.
When she is favored, she forgets the fine line between right and wrong.
Compared to Si Yiniang and Liu Yiniang, she still has a long way to go!”In the end, Jiu Yiniang only received a bit of favor, unlike the older Yiniangs—significantly less than Tan shi, who managed to survive under Da Furen’s hands, and the deceitful and capable Si Yiniang as well as the clever, formidable and patient Liu Yiniang.
Despite what she went through last time, she was still inexperienced and only saw Tan shi as her enemy, failing to see the bigger picture.
If in the future those blanket and pillows fulfilled their purpose, not only would Qi Yiniang’s child cease to exist, but Jiu Yiniang’s child will fall out of favor too.
Si Yiniang’s scheme was not half bad!Bai Zhi was a bit emotional as she said: “There’s really not a day when the residence is at peace.
To think that with Da Furen gone, we could live freely, but who would have thought someone else would come looking for trouble.”Li Wei Yang shook her head: “Jiu Yiniang isn’t too concerning.”

Bai Zhi immediately understood: “Xiaojie is worried about the new Furen? Don’t worry, Xiaojie.
She may be from the Jiang family, but she does not have the same status as Da Furen.
She is only the second wife!”Li Wei Yang shook her head again, a small smile playing on her lips like the sunlight on a pond: “No need to mention her status.
I’m afraid the moment she arrives, her first target will be me and my mother.” The new Furen was from the Jiang family but not the main household.
She would have to rely on them for status and prestige, and the best way is to appease them by eliminating an enemy for them.Bai Zhi quickly reassured her: “Anyways, Da Furen is gone.
Even if she was capable, what can she do when she has barely arrived? Xiaojie has a firm standing in the residence.”Li Wei Yang took a sip of tea, solemnly contemplating: “Everything must be taken care of.
Remember that anyone who looks after my mother must be someone I have chosen.
Thoroughly investigate their background and personality.”Bai Zhi understood her intentions and smiled: “Nubi understands.”Once the courtyard was repaired, Li Wei Yang ordered the servants to clean up and renovate.
She arranged for Qi Yiniang to return and thoroughly investigated the servants, only then did she feel temporarily reassured.Time flew by.
Li Xiao Ran was in good spirits.
Jiu Yiniang and Qi Yiniang gave birth, one after the other, except… Jiu Yiniang had always been hopeful but had a daughter, and Qi Yiniang simply happened to have a healthy son.
Jiu Yiniang was frustrated and grew resentful, but she was wary of Li Wei Yang, so for the time being, she did not dare to do anything.Since then, Qi Yiniang was much more cautious and stayed in her courtyard all day to look after her son.
She refused to see anyone else aside from Li Xiao Ran and Li Wei Yang.
Past February, news that the Li family would be welcoming a new bride suddenly spread all over the Capital.Amongst the gossip and debate, Li Wei Yangl carried on with her routine.
She woke up early every morning and went to He Xiang Courtyard to greet Lao Furen then went to Qi Yiniang’s place to see her adorable di di.
Afterwards, she returned to her courtyard for breakfast, read and practiced calligraphy.
In the afternoon, she listened as a private investigator report back on happenings in the Capital.
The remainder of her time was used to make money.After the incident with De Fei, Qi Huangzi was constantly looking for ways to appease Li Wei Yang.
Every few days, he would make a business proposal.
Less than 3 months later, her wealth had multiplied many times.
After many exchanges, she was now left with one thousand of the original, two thousand liang of gold.
If Li Xiao Ran knew, his soul might fly away in shock.
The amount of money she secretly accumulated surpassed the entire family’s wealth.
It was nothing strange though.
Qi Huangzi had the most money out of all the Huangzi, and it wasn’t his fault his Er jiu was Guan Tao Gong.[1] Not only did his Er jiu lift the embargo on the seas, he also successfully manipulated key businesspeople in the south.Li Wei Yang only put in a small investment but was able to fill up her purse.
It made her recall Tuoba Zhen’s astonishment when he eliminated Tuoba Yu and went inside Qi Huangzi’s residence… She also knew that having money to count was enough to live happily, especially for those who believed in the power of money like herself.
She could go to bed after counting her money, feeling reassured.
She would continue to do so and could not go without a day without it, leading a more fulfilling life than anyone else.Bai Zhi felt concerned.
The new Furen will arrive within ten days.
She remembered what Xiaojie said and thought her family was about to become the meat on the butcher’s cutting board and felt anxious.
Since Li Wei Yang paid no mind to it, Bai Zhi hoped to advise her: “Xiaojie should quickly come up with something, perhaps like arranging for people to watch over—”Li Wei Yang looked over with a warm smile: “That’s not necessary.” In large, noble households, there will always be indisputable conflict.
Different people could come together for the sake of their self-interests.
They all had their own battles.
There was not one household that was completely harmonious.
The only difference lies with whether it is an individual or collective battle, either trivial or one with high stakes.
The Jiang family’s carefully chosen pawns had no chance of being as simple as they look.
Any ttempts to gather individuals to deal with them would only make others laugh.Bai Zhi was worried but did not dare to further persuade her.
Zhao Yue pulled her over and criticized her: “You are so foolish, have you ever seen Xiaojie at a loss before?”Bai Zhi agreed that this was true and calmed down.
She stopped asking these questions and let go of her concerns to wait until the wedding.Li Wei Yang had always been a light sleeper, waking up to the slightest sounds.
If someone accidentally woke her up, she would look rather unpleasant and not be in a good mood for the rest of the day.
The Yatous knew her habits, so they usually did not dare to disturb her.
However, this morning, she heard slight noises outside.
Li Wei Yang opened her eyes and looked outside.Bai Zhi walked over, gently lifted the curtain and softly said: “Xiaojie, Luo mama is here.”Li Wei Yang frowned and sat up.
Bai Zhi brought her winter clothes over from the rack where they were being warmed and helped her change.
Mo Zhu brought over warm tea and handed a cup to Li Wei Yang: “She said she was inviting Xiaojie over on Lao Furen’s orders.”

Li Wei Yang momentary paused.
Bai Zhi brought over a tray with a small, intricate bowl, a brass pot, and a delicate silver box containing balsam.
Li Wei Yang only paused for a moment before spitting out the tea into the vase: “What happened?”It was not a question neither Bai Zhi nor Mo Zhu could answer, so they remained silent.
Zhao Yue, who always stood guard outside, came in and softly said: “Nubi went ahead to see.
Jiang Guogong Furen…”As Zhao Yue spoke, Li Wei Yang finished rinsing her mouth.
Bai Zhi brought her a new cup of tea.
Li Wei Yang lifted the cup and blankly said: “Oh, so that old hag came.”It was no secret that Li Wei Yang was not fond of the Jiang family.
With her most trusted Yatous, she often referred to Guogong Furen as “that old hag.” Zhao Yue held back a laugh and continued: “It’s not just her.
Jiang Da Furen also came.”Li Wei Yang arched her eyebrows and heaved a sigh: “So annoying, interrupting someone’s sleep and dreams so early in the morning.”There was a small sound outside the window.
Startled, Zhao Yue swiftly went over, and a little, green bird jumped into her palm.
Zhao Yue took the secret letter from the bird’s foot and then released it outside.
Li Wei Yang read the letter and sneered: “So that’s how it was!”Zhao Yue and Bai Zhi looked at one another.
Even though they did not know the contents of the letter, it was clearly not good, but then Li Wei Yang smiled: “Forget them, breakfast first.” She was conveying that this was not a priority, so everyone else could relax.Li Wei Yang went to He Xiang Courtyard and found Lao Furen talking with Guogong Furen.
She glanced over at Guogong Furen and saw that she was wearing green, silk robes with the calligraphic character ‘Longevity.’ There was a layer of silk from each shoulder of the robe that was attached to the cuffs of her sleeves.
She sat tall, her back straight and head slightly reared back, appearing particularly gentle and refined.
She stared intently at Li Wei Yang then smiled: “In-law Furen, it is quite a blessing that your granddaughters are all grown up.”Er Furen, Li Chang Rou, and Li Chang Xiao were all present to serve Lao Furen.
Naturally, Li Wei Yang had to stand with them, but Lao Furen waved her over: “Come over here and sit.”This was a great honor, emphasizing Li Wei Yang’s special status among the grandchildren.
Guogong Furen narrowed her eyes.
Looking at everyone’s expressions, she found that they seemed to have expected it and felt a bit surprised.Jiang Da Furen was now forty years old but still radiant, refined and dignified as always.
Compared to Guogong Furen, she seemed much more modest and gentle.
She did not act like the wife of a highly important official in front of Lao Furen either and seemed humble and sincere.
Li Wei Yang did not find it strange because one had to have a personality like that to be Jiang Xu’s wife.
She did not express any hostility towards Li Wei Yang and only smiled, treating everyone in the same manner and gave her a kind, warm welcome.Although Jiang Da Furen also came, it did not mean she empathized with her mother-in-law.
Was there a bride who did not dislike her arrogant, haughty sister-in-law? In the past and even now, Jiang Da Furen could not express her frustrations with Jiang Rou.
Whatever Jiang Rou did, it was still unfortunate to be associated with her, but nevertheless, Jiang Rou was still a daughter that had been married off.
She had died miserably, so as her sister-in-law, Jiang Da Furen certainly could not look the other way.
If she was indifferent, her mother-in-law and husband will resent her, so she had come to come.Guogong Furen smiled and said: “In-law Furen, I came today to reciprocate a gift.”Lao Furen’s hand slightly trembled, the cup of tea in her hand quivered but fortunately did not spill onto her hand.
She momentarily faltered but did not reveal anything on her face.
She softly murmured “oh”, paused and quietly asked: “For whom?”Guogong Furen slowly began: “I went up the mountain yesterday for a pilgrimage and saw our granddaughter wearing a brown, woven skirt helping the nuns with laundry.
I knew she was praying for her Muqin, so I let her know that Li Daren was about to remarry and permitted her to return to greet her new Muqin.[2] That child insisted she could not–saying in-law Furen would not allow her.”The fact that Guogong Furen actually went up the mountain made others speechless! Lao Furen clenched her teeth but continued to cheerfully smile: “What? I also want her to return soon.” Her Fuqin was about to remarry, so Li Chang Le must return.
This was self-explanatory, but Lao Furen truly did not want to see her again and wanted to quietly sweep this matter aside: “It has been very busy lately, so it must have slipped from my mind…”Er Furen also added: “Yes, we have been very busy with Da bo’s affairs recently and planned to wait a few more days for things to settle…”Jiang Da Furen interrupted her with a chuckle: “We would not dare to trouble you.
Chang Le, quickly come over to greet your zumu.”

Everyone was surprised to hear this.
They looked towards the door and saw the curtain being lifted.
A beauty in white clothes came in with a heavenly grace and willowy figure.
Who else could it be but Li Chang Le?Er Furen’s eyes were almost consumed with flames.
Li Chang Rou subconsciously clenched her handkerchief, and Li Chang Xiao was stunned.
The only person who did not react was Li Wei Yang.
Guogong Furen gauged Li Wei Yang’s expressions as she spoke with Lao Furen: “I hope in-law Furen will not blame me for being nosy.”Lao Furen smiled stiffly as if her smile had been carved from wood or stone.
She knew she was not in a position to negotiate.
Even if she was unwilling, she would compromise to keep the peace.
She’d rather not provoke an old tiger like Guogong Furen: “Not at all…”Li Chang Le bowed and knelt on the ground, seemingly weak and vulnerable.
From Li Wei Yang’s point of view, she could only see the pearl flowers on Li Chang Le’s sleek black hair, elegant and minimalistic, not at all like her past style.Li Wei Yang recalled the contents of the letter and knew Guogong Furen had already sent someone to visit Li Chang Le, but she waited a year before taking action.
Throughout the year, the Jiang family constantly sent people to Li Chang Le’s side and secretly made preparations.
The people Li Xiao Ran originally sent to oversee her eventually disappeared… Li Wei Yang also had people closely watching on the mountain, but no news left the mountain.
The temple that had been helping the Li family watch over Li Chang Le was also conflicted.
The Jiang family had great authority, so the temple did not dare to offend them.Li Chang Le did something unspeakable.
Aside from the senior members of the Li family, no one else knew, including Er Furen.
She only knew Li Chang Le lost favor for some reason and was sent up the mountain.
Er Furen began to worry now that she had returned.Er Furen examined Li Chang Le from head to toe, obviously wanting to find something wrong with her.
After looking for a while, she only discovered that Li Chang Le’s clothes were actually pale pink but were neither too exquisite nor plain.
One must remember that during Da Furen’s three year mourning period, a child cannot wear colorful clothes.
However, since Li Xiao Ran was about to remarry, it would not appropriate for her to wear white.
Li Chang Le’s pale pink and silver clothes had green bamboo embroidery but were still light colors, so Er Furen could only swallow her words.“Granddaughter heard Lao Furen was slightly ill.
Granddaughter was worried sick and hurried back.” Li Chang Le looked humble and spoke softly.
Er Furen was taken aback by Li Chang Le’s tone of voice, a stark, modest contrast to her usual proud, soaring voice.Although Lao Furen did not want to see her, she could only smile, but that smile was a bit unnatural: “Luo mama, quickly help the child up.”Luo mama helped Li Chang Le stand up.
Lao Furen said: “Since you’ve returned, you must look after your health and temper—”She had not finished her sentence when Guogong Furen smiled and said: “Chang Le suddenly lost her mother and naturally felt lonely.
I have allowed a few people to keep her company.
I hope Lao Furen will not blame me.”Lao Furen’s eyes fell on the two middle-aged Furens, especially the nonchalance and shrewdness behind Guogong Furen and slightly faltered.
She subtly glanced at Li Wei Yang.
Seeing she did not react, Lao Furen understood and pretended not to notice the implications: “How could I turn away Guogong Furen’s good intentions?”At this point, everyone seemed happy, at least, on the surface.There was not the slightest change on Li Wei Yang’s face but a cold smile vaguely emerged.
Li Chang Le had never looked over in her direction since she came in.
She occasionally looked up with a gentle, respectful expression and a hint of guilt.
People say everything can change in three days, and you may not be able to look at someone the same way again! ————————————————-
Translator: ChauEditor: Pending

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