The Princess Wei Yang
In the main courtyard, the afternoon sun shone its rays down through the rose vines shading the window.
It cast shadows on the soft silky curtains, which were embroidered with a blooming peony tree.
The copper furnace was emitting a lily fragrance; sweet and aromatic, the incense made the house feel cozy.
Li Chang Le had just finished rinsing her hair; she wore no outer robe, only a brocade top decorated with light pink begonias and a pleated skirt the color of a crescent moon.
Lazily, she relaxed in front of her dressing table.
“Where is Zhou Mama?”
Tan Xiang glanced at her; framed by fluttery eyelashes, those beautiful eyes were like pools of autumn water, gentle and warm, but her heart was filled increasing fear instead.
She lowered her head before replying.
“Zhou Mama left yesterday, but she has not been back ever since!” Li Chang Le frowned.
“Could she have failed in her task?” “This… Why not let Nubi enquire for news?” Tan Xiang said in a low voice. Li Chang Le let out a huff.
“That little bastard should have died long ago, who knew that he would be saved! It’s all Lu Gong’s fault, for sticking his nose into my business!” She obviously only knew that Lu Gong had destroyed her scheme, but did not realize his true identity as Jiang Tian; if not, she would have been even more agitated. Tan Xiang’s head remained lowered; deep down, she felt that Da Xiaojie was a little too ruthless, to even bring herself to harm such a cheerful baby like Si Shaoye. “Forget it, help me set my hair first.” Li Chang Le evidently did not care much for Zhou Mama; she was just an old servant, she could ask her grandmother for more of these assistants if she wanted. Tan Xiang took the white embroidered scarf from the yatou standing at the side, wrapping it around Li Chang Le‘s shoulders.
She picked up a wooden comb and began brushing her ebony black hair, hank by hank.
“Xiaojie, yesterday, the housekeeper personally brought over some freshly prepared peony hair oil, do you want to try it?” Everything that Li Chang Le used or ate was inspected carefully by Zhou Mama beforehand, any item that was out of the ordinary was rejected.
But Zhou Mama was not around today, so no one could perform the checks.
Li Chang Le waved her hands, and a yatou stepped forward with the peony oil.
She took a sniff delicately.
“That old thing, in the past I could get whatever I wanted, but after Mother died, it was so difficult to get him to grant my requests!” She was cursing the powerful housekeeper. Tan Xiang smiled.
“Now that the new Furen is here, she listens to Xiaojie; she must have ordered the housekeeper to send this over.
It seems that Xiaojie will no longer suffer such pettiness.” Li Chang Le smirked a little at that, her eyes revealing delight.
Tan Xiang, seeing that her Xiaojie was in a good mood, applied two drops of the oil to her palms and spread it around.
While Li Chang Le’s hair was still semi damp from her shower, she massaged it into her tresses; first combing it to smoothen and de-tangle the strands, then applying a thin layer onto it.
The heady fragrance of peony filled the bedroom; in the cold winter of Dali, the scent evoked a warm dreamy feeling that made it easy to get drunk on.
Tan Xiang weaved Li Chang Le’s thick and dark hair into an elegant up do, securing it with an intricate hairpin with flowers carved onto it.
Its jade green and blushing red tassels flowed down with her hair, along with a few sparkling gems, exuding elegance and beauty. Li Chang Le scrutinized her reflection, obviously pleased with the results. Over the next ten days, Li Chang Le fell in love with the peony oil’s scent, incorporating it into her daily routine and luxuriating in its rich smell.
Regarding Zhou Mama’s total disappearance, Li Chang Le had ordered servants to search thoroughly for clues, but came up with nothing.
She began to suspect that Li Wei Yang was behind it; however, without any evidence, she did not dare to make rash decisions.
All she could do was to report to the authorities that Zhou Mama had either escaped or went missing, but continued looking for her on the sly.
She couldn’t help but feel frustrated, so she brought her Yatous out to the gardens for a walk.
She had just reached the pond when she saw Li Wei Yang and Qi Yiniang playing with Min Zhi, as he teased the koi swimming inside.
Lao Furen was also seated at the nearby pavilion, together with Si Yiniang, Li Chang Xiao and their entourage; they were full of smiles and happy chatter. Jiang Yue Lan went forwards to greet them with a smile.
“Lao Furen looks really happy.” Seeing that it was her, Lao Furen smiled back.
“I was intending to send someone for you, yet here you are.
Quick, have a seat.” As Jiang Yue Lan made her way over, she was greeted by a flurry of curtseys.
She glanced over at Li Min Zhi, her eyes full of love and affection.
“Min Zhi is really growing cuter by the day, how irresistible.” However, she did not dare to reach over to carry him; because for the past few months, no matter how many times she tried, he would start bawling his lungs out.
Ugh, such a frustration.
In terms of resemblance, Min Zhi had inherited Li Xiao Ran’s features and Tan Shi’s eyes.
There was a rosy blush on his soft skin, and his brows were like a painting; he kept gurgling happily.
As Tan Shi carried him, he leaned against her shoulder, peeking his chubby face from behind her neck.
His large and round eyes observed the people around him curiously, and with a giggle, he broke out into happy laughter.
Min Zhi was superbly adorable, which made Jiang Yue Lan feel aggrieved; this child was originally hers, but now it was like watching a cooked duck fly away before her eyes. At this moment, everyone saw an angry figure in the form of Li Chang Le storm over.
Once she saw Lao Furen, she went on her knees, with tears pouring down her face.
“Lao Furen, Mother, I’m begging you to help me judge this matter!” Lao Furen frowned, glancing over at Jiang Yue Lan.
She gently asked, “Chang Le, what has happened?” Sobbing, Li Chang Le replied pitifully.
the yatous saw Zhou Mama’s corpse…
it was buried in the bamboo grove just behind my courtyard, but because of the heavy rain last night, it became exposed…” Everyone present was shocked upon hearing her words, Jiang Yue Lan included.
“Zhou Mama? She is the one that Guo Gong Furen sent here?” Li Chang Le took one look at Li Wei Yang, who had a small smile on her face; she resolved to crush her there and then.
“Yes! That’s her! She was alive and well when I asked her to send food to Si Di, but who knew that she would never return.
Initially I thought it was strange, so I sent someone to search for her with no avail.
So, I thought that she might have returned to Jiang Residence, but they told me that she did not go back.
Not a trace of her was found at her own home either…
I just started to think that maybe she had run away to escape some punishment for a mistake she made, but I never would have guessed that she got killed!” “She might not have been killed, perhaps she suddenly fell sick?!” Lao Furen said coolly. “As far as I know, Zhou Mama did not have any illness, and based on how horribly she died, someone had obviously poisoned her – who would be so evil!” As she said this, Li Chang Le suddenly stood up, staring at Li Wei Yang.
“San Mei, did you see Zhou Mama that day?!”
“Zhou Mama? Ai, Dajie, you have too many Mamas serving by your side, how would I know which one is surnamed Zhou.” She turned to Bai Zhi, who was standing by her side.
“Do you remember?” Bai Zhi suppressed a smile.
“Xiaojie, Nubi knows who Zhou Mama is, but she has never been to our courtyard.” The atmosphere seemed to freeze, thick and heavy with tension.
Li Chang Le’s face fell.
“I clearly ordered her to deliver something to Si Di…” “Oh! Sending Si Di something to eat!” Li Wei Yang turned to face Tan Shi.
“Qi Yiniang, did you see her?” Tan Shi thought for a moment, then shook her head.
“No.” She had truly not seen her; delivering food only a pre-arranged alibi that Zhou Mama and Li Chang Le came up with. Li Chang Le seemed a little flustered by the surprise.
“Why did someone visit Qi Yiniang’s courtyard, then end up dead? This is Grandmother’s favorite Mama, she is supposed to go back after two months, how am I supposed to answer for it!” At this moment, her eyes were filled with dread, chewing on the handkerchief gripped tightly in her hands; she appeared very worried.
“No wonder I have been having nightmares these days.” Li Chang Le said, choking out a cry.
“In my dreams, Zhou Mama was drenched in blood, crying out for revenge, asking me to help her find the people who cruelly murdered her without any reason.
Lao Furen, what do you think should be done!” A cold smile crept up on the corner of Li Wei Yang’s lips. Lao Furen took a great amount of effort to suppress her anger.
“Then go ahead and investigate! Let’s see where that old servant went, and where she went missing, so that I can give you an explanation!” Li Chang Le looked pleased, aiming a glance at Li Wei Yang.
“Well, what if it is found that someone is behind all this?” What is she trying to say, Lao Furen’s temper was boiling, her brows throbbing with anger? She was about to speak, when Li Wei Yang spoke, so softly and gently like a floating wind, a fleeting star.
“Of course, the mastermind should be severely punished.” “San Mei is right, when the truth is revealed, Lao Furen, please make sure to deal severe punishment!” Li Chang Le laughed coldly. Si Yiniang took in the looks on everyone’s faces.
“Da Xiaojie, she was only a servant…” she said with an awkward smile.Li Chang Le’s returning smile looked like a blooming cherry blossom in the spring, but it beheld a cold cruelty that made everyone feel uncomfortable.
“Si Yiniang, the crux of the matter is not Zhou Mama’s status, but the fact that someone had meted out their own private punishment! Pardon my ignorance, but I had no idea that in the Li Residence could condone anyone to order the death of a servant without the knowledge or approval of Lao Furen!”
Lao Furen’s expression soured further.
“That’s enough! Since we’ve already agreed to investigate, then let’s proceed with that!” “Thank you, Lao Furen.” Li Chang Le replied sweetly, throwing a bland glance at Li Wei Yang before curtseying to Lao Furen and leaving with her entourage of yatous. Si Yiniang couldn’t help muttering to Li Chang Xiao.
“It is just some Nubi who died, look at how she exaggerated the matter!” Li Chang Xiao replied in a low voice.
“Mother, keep your voice down.” Lao Furen did not want to dwell on this matter anymore; she waved Tan Shi over.
“Come, Min Zhi, come over to Grandmother.” Tan Shi wiped away the worry on her face, smilingly handing Min Zhi over.
Just as Lao Furen was about to carry him, a piercing scream filled with fear broke through, and the voice belonged to Li Chang Le. Everyone exchanged looks, confused as to what was happening.
Jiang Yue Lan recovered her wits the fastest.
“It’s Chang Le’s voice, quickly, go and find out what is wrong!” In a panic, she hurriedly went ahead with her servants.
Lao Furen slowly stood up, and declared, “Let’s go, we shall take a look too.” Upon reaching the next turn of the corridor, Li Chang Le was found curled up at the corner of the wall, trembling.
Jiang Yue Lan called out her name, and she saw Li Chang Le’s ashen and pale face.
She cried out desperately, “Save me! Mother, please save me!” As her gaze fell on Li Chang Le’s head, Jiang Yue Lan was so horrified that she took a few steps back.
All those presents were equally shocked, gasping in fear.
Li Chang Le’s glorious locks had fallen off, leaving behind only a few pathetic strands.
Her fingers were still scratching and scrabbling; her scalp was covered in blood.
It was a disgusting sight. Si Yiniang exclaimed in horror.
“Heavens, what is going on!” Everyone scattered in shock, including Lao Furen, who nearly fainted in terror.
Jiang Yue Lan’s heart was pounding wildly in her chest, as she witnessed Li Chang Le’s hands moving down to her face, still scratching furiously from her forehead, eyes, down to her nose.
It was as if she was trying to gouge her flesh from her very bones, as if she could get rid of the itch by digging it out.
In a matter of minutes her lovely features became a mess of meat and blood; scaring Jiang Yue Lan even further.
If anything happened to her, how would she answer to the Jiangs! She steeled her resolve and instructed her yatous.
“Quickly, hold down Da Xiaojie, don’t let her scratch anymore!” Her yatous and Mamas had to bear with their disgust, pinning Li Chang Le’s limbs down to the ground.
She was still writhing in pain, struggling frantically to scratch the itch on her face; when Li Chang Le realized she couldn’t reach it, she attempted to scratch the other parts of her body.
It was such an uncontrollable instinct to be rid of the horrendous sensation.
Jiang Yue Lan could not control her dry heaving, but she still managed to shout out orders.
“Quickly, get my calming medicine! Now!” Li Wei Yang watched this scene calmly and coldly; of course, Li Chang Le would itch uncontrollably.
She had extracted the poison from Zhou Mama’s tainted blood, and had placed it into the hair oil before sending it to her.
It was easy to imagine the kind of pain she was experiencing; a pain worse than death.
This was exactly as she planned, for her to have a taste of how the pain she originally wanted Min Zhi to suffer; such cruelty!
Li Chang Le let out a blood-curdling wail, attempting to roll away on the floor.
Some of the servants had exhausted all their strength just to pin her to the ground; however, her luscious hair had fallen clean off, and there was blood all over.
The scene was a terrifying beyond belief, and that face no longer resembled anything human.
Li Chang Le did not just lose her status as a gorgeous Da Xiaojie; she was worse off than a beggar sprawled on the streets. Suddenly, a yatou screamed, pointing at Li Chang Le’s body.
“Ahh! It’s so scary!” Li Chang Le’s broken skin was leaking copious amounts of blood, and there were traces of black substance in it.
She was still writhing, fighting to break free from her restraints, exactly like how Zhou Mama was struggling before she died.
It was as if her stomach contained some poisonous worms chewing at her from the inside, and she was attempting to claw it out, but unable to do so due to the people holding her back.
Li Wei Yang maintained her cool composure; if there was no one to hold her back, Li Chang Le might have dug out her own internal organs already! Jiang Yue Lan’s servant had retrieved the medicine at this moment, forcing it down Li Chang Le’s throat.
She seemed to calm down, and in that instant, Jiang Yue Lan grabbed a yatou.
“Quickly, get someone to knock out Da Xiaojie, we cannot allow her to scratch anymore!” The onlookers were originally rooted to the ground in shock, but upon hearing Jiang Yue Lan’s instructions, a quick-witted Mama hurriedly grabbed a wooden stick and slammed it against Li Chang Le’s forehead.
She let out a guttural scream, like an animal, before fainting flat on the ground. Tan Xiang was dumbstruck throughout the entire ordeal, crying out only at this point in time.
“Da Xiaojie! Da Xiaojie, what has happened here!” Jiang Yue Lan immediately arranged for servants to carry Li Chang Le back.
“What happened? Why did things become like this?” she asked. Tan Xiang was obviously flustered.
“Nubi does not know, we had just reached here, when Da Xiaojie suddenly went mad, gouging at herself…” Jiang Yue Lan sighed deeply, massaging her chest to calm herself down; she was still stunned by what had happened.
“Get a physician! Hurry!” As everyone watched the blood-soaked Li Chang Le, Li Wei Yang made her way to Tan Shi’s side, calm as still water as if nothing had happened.
“It’s done, you can turn around now.” She said in a gentle voice. Tan Shi had desperately shielded Min Zhi’s eyes away from that horrifying scene, so now he was naturally looking around curiously; hmm, what had happened just now, why did it suddenly go dark? Li Wei Yang simply pinched his chubby cheeks, whispering in the lowest of voices.
“Xiao Di, Jiejie has helped you take your revenge.”
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