Chapter 117: Confrontation in the Golden Hall

The Empress met with Li Wei Yang in the side hall, this meeting obviously beyond Li Wei Yang’s expectation.

On both sides, tens of eunuchs wearing green brocade robes stood solemnly with hands cupped; Li Wei Yang leisurely walked past them tiptoeing her way up, the big hall filled with a certain kind of fragrance—she who had once lived in the palace knew that is the sandalwood precipitated from someone who has prayed to Buddha over a long time.
And this Empress, for Li Wei Yang, she does know her a bit.
She has followed Buddha for a long time, but it doesn’t mean that she is a kind person.

Li Wei Yang did not look up, she bent down in a bow, and after bowing, both eyes are on the floor without moving: “Royal subject’s daughter Wei Yang greets Your Majesty, the Empress.”

“Raise your head.” A dignified female voice entered her ear, this voice so clean and cold, so hard, like a cold jade.

Li Wei Yang raised her head.
The Empress looks to be over 40, her stature rather small, but with a chilly bossiness, compared to Virtuous Consort Zhang, Consort Rou and others, her looks are considered average, or perhaps in order to conceal this, each time that Li Wei Yang met her, she always felt that her makeup is too solemn; it’s the same as well today, it’s just meeting the daughter of a subject yet she is wearing the nine-tails phoenix buyao(dangling hair ornament) in her hair, twined with pure gold necklace, when talking, that necklace is also quiver with a slight sound.

Li Wei Yang quickly lowered her gaze; staring at someone else’s eyes for a long period of time is extremely rude, especially when it’s someone like the Empress.

The Empress sat upright in her seat, her gaze on Li Wei Yang noble and cold-blooded; when seeing her too calm of a face, the Empress’s delicately and beautifully drawn brows couldn’t help tightening slightly.
She thoroughly inquired about Li Wei Yang’s age, name and what seemed like regular family talk, but in fact was checking to see if her thinking is quick, her speaking is eloquent, even conferring her personality—those who are good at summing up people can, from the way she speaks, judge what kind of person she is.

Li Wei Yang did not show a trace of timidness, replying to the Empress’s questions calmly, her speech slow, her attitude respectful, definitely not low.

“Very good, I have heard His Majesty speak of you before, meeting you today, are really a smart girl..” the Empress nodded slightly, even though her mouth said “smart,” her face was still solemn.

Li Wei Yang only answered: “Thank you Your Majesty for your praise, I don’t deserve such honour.”

The Empress suddenly said a suspicious sentence: “I heard something happened yesterday.”

Sure enough it came.
Li Wei Yang smiled slightly: “Not sure what Your Majesty is speaking of?”

The Empress laughed but didn’t answer; the rather small hall was instantly silent, only the lethargic calls of the thrush outside could be heard.
In the light of the muggy afternoon, the Empress’s regular clothes were thin and purple, a peony sewn on the front left, extremely delicate and charming, stunningly beautiful.
The Empress’s smile slowly disappeared, her voice quiet like water, slowly saying each word, each sentence: “Someone has falsely accused the fourth young master of the Jiangs for kidnapping the fifth miss of the Lis, is this true?”

Falsely accused, these two words have already determined the Empress’ attitude towards this incident.
It makes Li Wei Yang feels like an all-over chilliness has rushed in, from the heart to the body; even the soul is cold.

She slowly raised her face, both eyes covered by her lashes, unable to see any expression, her lips rising in a cold smile, she calmly responded: “As Your Majesty said, the fourth young master of the Jiangs has kidnapped my sister.”

She left out these two words, “falsely accused;” the Empress’s eyes instantly widened, staring with a bit of disbelief at the seemingly calm girl in front of her.
Meanwhile, Li Wei Yang actually seemed as though she had no fear; in those black eyes, a look flashed quickly, so quickly that the Empress’s heart suddenly became heavy.

She summoned her here to make her shut up about that incident, never to mention that matter again, but obviously, the other person doesn’t seem to understand her hint, unwilling to change her original intention.

It was surprisingly hot in the afternoon, outside the hall is quite fine, but inside the hall where there is not a bit of wind, it was hot like fire; because of this, the Empress’s mood become more agitated, she smiled coldly and said: “With such an incident happening, it will be hard for your sister to get married, do you still want to be stubborn?”

Therefore, the Empress wanted to be selfish, hoping that the Lis will take a loss, then marry a daughter off to the other side as a concubine.
This and Jiang Nan’’s initial thought, are obviously exactly the same, after all there is still not a person who doesn’t care about their face and reputation; if it becomes bigger, no one will gain anything.
Jiang Nan, sure that Li Wei Yang is a smart person, unwilling to become a nun or commit suicide, and therefore will definitely be willing to become a concubine, thus unscrupulously behaved this way, but he would have never thought that Li Wei Yang would drag out a Li Chang Xi.
Towards the abandoned-by-the-family Li Chang Xi, the situation is completely different.

“Your Majesty, it’s not Wei Yang being stubborn, but rather at the time the incident was seen by many people.” Li Wei Yang said gently.

The Empress was speechless; of course she also knew that this incident is hard to deal with.
If it was not hard, Guo Gong Furen would not struggle with her illness to come and beg her; thinking of this, the Empress’s dark eyes watched unwaveringly at Li Wei Yang: “You are a smart person, as long as you change your words, this incident can be solved.”

Li Wei Yang did not get mad, she just smiled warmly at the Empress and said: “Your Majesty, I will do as Your Majesty says, but what about Yao Daren? His public…? You do know that Yao Daren is stubborn and wouldn’t listen even to the Emperor’s words; when the time comes, the two testimonies would not match, His Majesty would think that I am lying to the ruler.
This crime, how can I take responsibility?”

The Empress immediately frowned, her expression solemn, almost getting angry: “What you’re saying, in order for you to change your testimony, Yao Daren must also relent?”

Li Wei Yang said in grievance: “Your Majesty, I am stating the facts, otherwise what you want me to say, I will say.”

The Empress stared at her, not knowing what to say to her for a moment.
To say that she disobeyed her edict, she did not say a word of disagreeing, but to say that she is meek, she didn’t even agree to anything.
This yatou, is really as Guo Gong Furen said, she is slippery.
She couldn’t help ripping that layer of paper on the window and said: “Don’t you understand my intention? I want you to say that your sister and Jiang Nan were dating! Understand?!”

It’s dating, not kidnapping! This is the Empress’s meaning.

Li Wei Yang was shocked and said: “Dating? Fifth sister and the fourth young master of the Jiangs were dating? I did not know at all! Aiya, this yatou is too bold, even saying that a date is kidnapping!”

The Empress suppressed the anger in her heart and stood up, her dress with the Zi Jin phoenix pattern pulling a slight sound, the palace maids on the side quickly bend down, not daring to raise their head.
The Empress didn’t look kindly at Li Wei Yang and said slowly: “Do not skirt around it! I will repeat, when His Majesty asks you, you should know what you should say!”

Li Wei Yang bent like a bow and said: “This royal subject’s daughter solemnly respects Your Majesty’s edict.”

After Li Wei Yang left, the Empress pressed her forehead; she is beginning to feel confused whether this yatou is really foolish or pretending to be confused.
If she can persuade Yao Chang Qing, that old bone, would she still need her to change her testimony? As long as the witness changes testimony, then there can be an end to this….

A palace maid saw that her mistress was having a headache and couldn’t help shaking her head; Her Majesty has physically and mentally exhausted herself for the Crown Prince for the past two years, to the point that she didn’t even see through this little yatou.
That person has clearly agreed to nothing, but she still thought that she had already achieved her goal…

From the start to the end, Li Wei Yang had been going along with the Empress’ words, just repeating her, didn’t even express a word that shows she will change, while the Empress had clearly misunderstood.

In the Emperor’s main hall, members of the Jiangs and Lis, Yao Chang Qing, Jiang Nan, Li Chang Xi, the Crown Prince, third prince Tuoba Zhen, fifth prince Tuoba Rui, seventh prince Tuoba Yu are all there with not one person missing.
It is obvious that this news had already gradually spread out.
Li Wei Yang walked in slowly; Jiang Guo Gong Furen’s chilly gaze was locked on her, vicious as if she wanted to eat her alive, but that body with the walking stick already exposed that she looks strong but in fact is weak.

Li Wei Yang took a glance at Guo Gong Furen, the smile on her face becoming deeper; she had long guessed that this old lady would come, and what’s more, according to her original prediction, her illness was not light.

The Emperor sat at the center seat and said sternly: “Originally this case should be handed over to the Ministry of Justice and Intendant of JingZhao to investigate, but both families are my Da Li’s cornerstones.
Therefore I want to personally listen—there are so many people standing below, with so many eyes watching, there wouldn’t be any injustice to anyone! Guo Gong Furen’s age is high, you may sit.
Intendant of JingZhao, you can try the case.”

Guo Gong Furen, wearing the dress and accessories of a first rank madam, outwardly looking aged, thanked unsteadily for the seat.

Jiang Nan is expressionless, not looking at anyone; Li Chang Xi’s head is lowered, looking as if she is sad, yet from an outsider’s point of view, it seems as though she has recovered from the shock she has received.
Only Li Xiao Ran’s expression is weird; he doesn’t understand, how come Li Chang Xi is suddenly not crazy anymore? In actuality, there is nothing weird about this matter: in the past, Li Chang Xi has taken a big blow because of that incident, losing her mind, but Li Xiao Ran at that time had silenced everyone who knew of the incident.
Now outsiders only know that the fifth daughter of the Lis had left to recover from an illness, but do not know just what illness she has, much less know the truth of the matter.
Afterwards, Si Yiniang secretly hired a doctor to take a diagnosis; Li Chang Xi’s craziness is originally not that serious, therefore slowly she would recover.

Yao Chang Qing said coldly: “Jiang Nan, did you kidnap Miss Li?”

Jiang Nan looked at Yao Chang Qing coldly but didn’t answer, Jiang Xu was secretly itching to give him a couple of slaps, but his face revealed a heartbroken expression and said: “Ai, it is this royal subject who did not teach well enough.
In the past, when my niece Li Chang Le was ill, I instructed this undutiful child to go visit, who knew that he would have met the fifth daughter of the Li Manor… some back and forth, if I have heard something, definitely would not have allowed this undutiful child to do such offence to public decency!” Weeping as he spoke, “Younger sister, I have failed you! Even if I die, I can’t face you underneath.” His behaviour, naturally settled that these two were having a liaison, not kidnapping, this is seriously a big difference!

“Miss Li, do you have a personal relationship with the fourth young master of the Jiang!” Yao Chang Qing asked.

Li Chang Xi, as if receiving a shock, stammered: “I..I have never met him before, how can there be a personal relationship!”

Jiang Xu immediately said: “Chang Xi, it’s already to this point, there is no need to hide! We are after all family, since you and Nan-er have feelings, why didn’t you say anything earlier, uncle (maternal) will definitely help you!.

Li Xiao Ran’s expression dimmed; it is obvious that he is not willing to deal with this matter.
After speaking with Li Wei Yang last time, he really doesn’t want to become more related to the Jiangs by marriage! Don’t even speak about if there really is a liason, Li Chang Xi can only be a concubine! Since they have caused this issue, then if they are capable, they can handle it themselves!

Li Wei Yang spoke with a piercing cold: “Uncle, even though your position is currently a general of third rank, today His Majesty is here, the chief interrogator Lord Yao Chang Qing is also here, the Crown Prince and other princes are also here, how could it come to Jiujiu judging for there to be a liason? Unless uncle has suddenly became the chief interrogator!” Not caring about how ugly Jiang Xu’s face has become, her pair of eyes bright like precious stone looked at the Emperor and said loudly: “Your Majesty, Your royal subject’s daughter has something to say!”

“Speak.” The Emperor nodded.

A trace of cold flashed through Li Wei Yang’s beautiful pair of eyes, she sighed a breath of air and said: “Originally I didn’t want to speak of the truth but seeing uncle’s behaviour today, the fourth young master has schemed a malicious interlinking plan, wanting to discredit me; my lowly life is of no value, but it’s a pity that fifth younger sister has been implicated innocently.
If I don’t speak and let it rot inside, even if I have been shattered, I cannot face her!”

Li Wei Yang spoke slowly: “Replying to His Majesty, fifth younger sister and I are both concubine born, I was unlucky to have been born in the second month, and from a young age was determined by my principal mother to be bad luck, therefore sent to the countryside to be raised.” Speaking to here, Li Wei Yang has as silent expression, “At age 6, the family that adopted me nitpicked me for not doing chores nimbly, a pair of scissors was hit in my arm; there is still a scar to this day.
Even though I did not live well, I didn’t dare to hold a grudge.
I can only wait in anticipation, hoping that in the near future Father and Mother would think of me sooner and bring me back.”

Tuoba Yu looked at Li Wei Yang, recalling the time she was playing the fool with those people near the pig sty and couldn’t help being surprised; so her past had been so hard.
While Li Xiao Ran’s face showed an embarrassed expression, he hoped that Li Wei Yang wouldn’t speak of these matters, because he can see even the Emperor has a shocked look on his face.

Li Wei Yang, not caring about the shocked looks of the audience, continued: “The things that I would speak of next, would hurt the prestige of the Lis; unless there wasn’t any alternative, I would rather these words rot inside me rather than say it out loud.
I have waited and waited, waited until Father had finally thought of me and brought me back to the capital to raise.
After meeting Father and Mother as well as the sisters of the manor, I have thought that from then onwards I would be able to live life well.
Afterwards, there were rumours that eldest sister was of great fortune and can match with a prince.
At the time, I just treated it as a joke; when eldest sister offered advice to his Majesty, I have heard people say that eldest sister’s marriage has come to nothing, but what does this have to do with me! No one thought that Mother would actually place this wrong on Wei Yang’s head and claim that Wei Yang was not willing to give the strategy for healing disaster to eldest sister sooner, instead letting her embarrass herself in front of his Majesty, losing a good marriage match!”

“You speak of nonsense, my daughter is not such narrow-minded person!” Hearing this, Guo Gong Furen finally couldn’t help yelling, her face shockingly sinister.
She doesn't dare to admit to it, more so cannot admit to it! Admit to it, then they are admitting to Jiang Rou’s mean reputation!

But Li Wei Yang has no look of fear, instead she asked coldly: “Grandmother, if Mother has nothing to be guilty about, why did she died from insanity?”

Guo Gong Furen looks as if her tongue has been cut, her face becoming black and blue, her gaze as if she can eat someone.
She cannot admit to it, because Jiang Rou did in actuality do too many evils and scared herself to death!

“Mother, because of this matter, made things difficult for me, not only me but even the concubine born fourth sister and fifth sister, each are like servants in the home! Fourth sister is still awkward and clumsy to this day, looking like a maid, fifth sister has been frightened by her until she became uneasy, often unable to rest, with no other alternative other than to send her to another courtyard to recover from her illness! Perhaps because too many evils were done, that Mother would say that the feng shui of the house is not good, searching everywhere and even saying that there are weird ghosts bothering her at odd times, unable to sleep day and night, then saying that the manor’s concubines and daughters are all unlucky stars, but regardless of what crime Mother did, I have cared for her day and night, not daring to be careless, this was seen by everyone in the family… Mother was ill for a long time, even the imperial doctors can testify; she became ill due to too many worries, but grandmother felt that we did not take care of her well and forcibly took her back to the Jiang Manor, but who knew that not even half a month had passed, she had passed away.
Grandmother is too angry because of Mother’s passing, stubbornly insisting that because us Lis did not take care of her well enough thus harming her daughter.
Then she targeted me, saying that because I was born in the second month, I have subdued her to death.
But in reality, my father and birth mother, as well as grandmother at home are all well and healthy, with no illness.
If speaking of subduing, how come I subdued Mother?”

Li Wei Yang’s eyes are red, her face pale, her lips drained of colour, tears and anger are held in her eyes, even the Crown Prince seems to be unable to bear it.

Guo Gong Furen shouted angrily: “Shut up! Shut your mouth!”

But the Emperor said coldly: “No! Continue speaking!” Jiang Xu’s face is unusually ugly, but in front of the Emperor, he can only do his utmost to control himself.

Li Xian Ran couldn’t help sighing, if speaking of eloquence, perhaps he is inferior to this yatou.
This kind of half truth, half false words, say it’s not true but each word is real, say it is the complete truth, yet there is this feeling of something being a bit off; after all Da Furen harming Li Wei Yang is real, being harsh to concubine born daughters is real, having fears due to suspicions is also real, but… outsiders do not know, Li Wei Yang was never at a disadvantage!

Li Chang Xi lowered her head, finally understanding what is the difference between Li Wei Yang and herself: herself only knows how to be overbearing, but Li Wei Yang understood how to use the biggest resources to do things for herself.
Just this incident alone, it is way out of her league.

Even though she has been scolded by the Emperor, Guo Gong Furen still couldn’t help speaking angrily: “You..
are spouting lies! Your Majesty, you cannot believe this yatou’s words! She is completely defaming us!” Saying this, she suddenly stood up, quickly moved a few steps to her walking stick to hit Li Wei Yang, but Li Wei Yang nimbly evaded, hiding behind Yao Ching Qing.
Seeing that the walking stick had hit air, Tuoba Yu breathed a sigh of relief, while Jiang Xu’s inwardly claimed not good and hurried to hold Guo Gong Furen.

The Emperor watched this act, originally believing only one-third, now believed half of it! Because Guo Gong Furen is too domineering! Since she dared to take actions in front of him, what about behind his back? At this time, since he still hadn’t realized Li Wei Yang was obviously trying to agitate Guo Gong Furen purposely, the Emperor’s face finally showed some anger.
He couldn’t help saying coldly: “Guo Gong Furen, you are already of this age, your anger is still this big.
This is the main hall, a law court, not your Jiangs’ inner courtyard!” His voice was incomparably cold, carrying a hint of chill.

Guo Gong Furen was shocked, immediately understanding that she had fallen into a trap, as she got more worked up, others will believe Li Wei Yang’s words more.
In reality, Li Wei Yang’s words were not exaggerated, it’s all facts, it’s just that she can’t swallow this pill, almost as if she hated that she couldn’t directly beat her to death! Leaning on her son’s assistance, she then forced herself to stand still, only keeping her pair of eyes vermonously on Li Wei Yang.

Li Wei Yang lowered her gaze and continued to speak, “Grandmother and uncle have guessed back and forth, but can only suspect me, because I have received mistreatment, I am the one who always suffers, they think that my hatred towards my mother has not disappeared, thus purposely making it difficult for my mother, leading to her death from illness.
But for these kinds of matters, I am only a weak and simple girl, how could I have done these? I am normally in my own courtyard embroidering, paying my respects to my mother every day on time, I can only do it from outside, even on mother’s everyday life I am unable to get close to her, how can I harm her? But Grandmother has her mind set on something, what is the difference.
Note there are many secrets in the world, but the walls have ears, besides such matter that is against the laws of nature, if I have really done it, how would I know that there would be a person with a clear mind and heart who can see right through it? Why does Grandmother insist that I am the enemy, not giving a chance for explanation?”

Guo Gong Furen clearly knows that Li Wei Yang is trying to rile her up, yet was unable to control her temper of many years, her entire face almost turning purple, swept Jiang Xu’s hand aside and rushed up to slap Li Wei Yang, while Yao Chang Qing who was standing in front of Li Wei Yang naturally blocked with his hand.
Who knew that Lao Furen didn’t even care, and “pa” that slap actually fell on Yao Chang Qing’s face; the Emperor seeing this, naturally fully believed the arrogant and despotic nature of this old lady.
People are like this, they would rather believe that which they see with their own eyes; as such because of this, he fully believed all of Li Wei Yang’s words.

Jiang Xu rushed to stop Guo Gong Furen while apologizing profusely to Yao Chang Qing: “Yao Daren, really sorry, my mother was too worked up…”

Yao Chang Qing originally was not of good temper, but right now in front of the Emperor he could only suppress his anger and say: “Forgot about it!”

Guo Gong Furen had a shortcoming—this shortcoming doesn’t seem like much normally, but at this time, it had become her life’s weakness: that is being protective, extremely protective! This person is especially obstinate and narrow-minded, and she firmly believed that Li Wei Yang caused her daughter’s death; therefore, no matter what kind person Da Furen was, how much she had caused harm to others, Guo Gong Furen would turn a blind eye, only thinking that it’s others who harm her daughter! Now hearing those words that Li Wei Yang said, how can she not fly into a fit of rage? Blame these years for going too smoothly, husband and sons are incomparably outstanding, thus maintaining her unyielding temper.
However, while in the past this has been her good fortune, but now this is her death warrant.
With only a few words spoken, she was already out of breath, almost as if she couldn’t even stand straight.

Li Wei Yang looked at her icily; don’t blame her for being too cruel and ruthless, this old lady let Jiang Nan to come for marriage clearly with the thought of quietly disposing of her in the Jiang family.
You are heartless, I am disloyal; you do one, I do fifteen, it’s just tit for tat!

Jiang Xu said coldly: “Li Wei Yang, what are you speaking of this for! This is our family matter! Right now we are discussing a case!”

Li Wei Yang looked at Jiang Xu slowly, completely unafraid: “Jiujiu thought that Wei Yang wanted to bring it up? Could it be that Father marrying such a wife is a glorious thing! Could it be that the home unrestful, sisters uneasy are glorious things! Just what reason do I have to go and air the dirty laundry to outsiders! It is all because you were pressing far too much! Jiujiu keeps saying that this is a family matter, Wei Yang asks one question: when grandmother was scheming a trap, was Wei Yang ever thought of as your family member! When fourth young master wanted to ruin fifth sister’s innocence, was fifth sister ever thought of as your family member!”

Even though Li Chang Xi personally hated this third sister, at the moment, she couldn’t help but give an exclamation of approval; this bearing, this ruthlessness, completely surpassed all others, suppressing the thoughts of wanting to change this incident into one of a romantic relationship… as Li Chang Xi thought, she suddenly saw Li Wei Yang glare at her once.
Immediately understanding, she wept mournfully: “Bixia, please give me justice!” She was very worked up, her voice sharp, carrying a shrill full of grievance, causing people to feel a chill

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