The Princess Wei Yang
Chapter 128: Lamb to be Slaughtered
Jiang Hua's expression was cold.
He sat motionlessly, only his eyes swept over to Li Wei Yang.
Compared to an unrestrained, fierce expression, this ambiguous expression had the complexity of a forest shrouded in mist at night.
It was even more frightening because one could never guess what he wanted, just like how you could never know what he would do next.
In all fairness, Li Wei Yang looked forward to this because the man in front of her was like her and just as cruel.
If there were no grudges against the Jiang family, she might appreciate his decisiveness and skill in taking action, but he should not be too unreasonable, looking down on others and forcing them into a corner.
Li Wei Yang disliked this sense of superiority that the Jiang family members felt they were entitled to.
It was as if everyone should bow at their feet.
If anyone resisted in the slightest manner, they deserved to die.
This truly did not sit well with others!
“Welcome, Third Young Master.
It is indeed an honor for this lowly one.” Li Wei Yang slightly smiled and sat down.
The maid immediately brought tea.
Li Wei Yang gently picked it up but did not drink it.
Jiang Da Furen ran back to the Jiang family and only said she encountered a group of lunatics on the road.
Fortunately, Jiang Hai and their guards risked their lives to protect her, allowing her to escape, but those people captured Jiang Hai and disappeared without a trace.
The Jiang family had already reported it to Jing Zhao Yin and even dispatched all their forces to search, but those people came and went without a trace, so they were unable to find anything.
Jiang Hua was finally able to leave the Crown Prince’s Manor and return.
As soon as he heard about this, he immediately thought of looking for Jiang Tian's whereabouts and found out that he had gone missing.
He immediately put two and two together, and he was fully consumed by rage.
He headed straight to the Li family, intending to secretly infiltrate like Li Wei Yang had done and kill her himself.
Who would have thought she had soon guessed his intentions and sent all the guards away and prepared to welcome him as a guest.
The only exception was that she did not receive him at the main entrance.
The more Li Wei Yang did, the more Jiang Hua felt it was unusual.
He thought that since the other party had already made preparations, he would not succeed if he wanted to strike first and assassinate her.
He immediately withdrew the Jiang family forces that had been prepared to lay down their lives and proudly came in through the main entrance.
Li Wei Yang sat not too far away from him.
She even had the audacity to say: “Why, does Third Young Master not want tea after a long journey?”
Jiang Hua suppressed his anger, but he was even more infuriated by her bright smile, so he raised his cup of tea and took a sip.
Li Wei Yang smiled: “This is Yun Wu tea, the rarest and most prized in the Li residence.
It’s only used to entertain honored guests.
I wonder what the Third Young Master thinks of it?”
Jiang Hua stared intently at Li Wei Yang, trying to find the slightest trace of fear or uneasiness, but unfortunately, he was disappointed, unable to find anything in Li Wei Yang’s eyes.
He had always been clever and cautious from a young age and had never been at a disadvantage, but this time, when he returned and met Li Wei Yang, he realized he was helpless and had fallen into her hands.
There is a saying on the battlefield: fight regardless if there is a trap.
If a commanding general is unable to see and clearly grasp the situation, then their defeat is well-deserved.
Fortunately, he had never lost, but now, the situation had been reversed, and it seems he had become the one who was defeated.
He had thought it would be easy to take care of her, but now, look how much trouble he had left for himself.
Li Wei Yang glanced at Jiang Hua and slowly said, “I haven’t asked yet.
What did Third Young Master come for today?”
Jiang Hua suddenly stood up.
He walked over to a table nearby and gestured to the Go board there: “Shall we play a game?”
Play a game of Go?! A subtle smile flashed across Li Wei Yang’s face.
If it were an ordinary person, the first thing they would do upon arriving is demand to know where Jiang Tian is, but the person in front of her obviously had other intentions.
Li Wei Yang sneered.
Regarding calligraphy, painting and dance, she could not compare to other Xiaojies indeed, but when it came to playing Go, this was another matter altogether.
It was not enough to play and practice Go from a young age.
It was a bloody battle of wits, an army against an army, a general against a general, bows drawn and swords raised for glory.
She believed that she was not a lamb to be slaughtered by just anyone.
She slowly stood up and went to the table beside them and casually placed a piece in the center of the board.
Jiang Hua smiled, lifted a hand and countered with another piece in a swift action.
His playing style was similar to his own personality: meticulous.
“I have something to ask about today’s affairs.” Jiang Hua looked straight into Li Wei Yang’s eyes, placing emphasis on every word.
“Third Young Master, you answer me a question, and I will answer you a question.” Li Wei Yang smiled.
Xianzhu, if you ask a question, I will decide whether I will answer it.” Jiang Hua nodded and lowered another Go piece onto the board, “Likewise, you can choose to not answer a question that I ask.”
Li Wei Yang smiled and immediately understood his intentions: “What agreement did the Jiang family and Tuoba Zhen reach regarding today’s assassination? What weakness do you have over Wu Huangzi to have him in the palm of your hands? Does the Jiang family plan to implicate Qi Huangzi?”
That was three questions.
The Go piece in Jiang Hua’s hands froze.
He was examining these three questions and considering which to answer.
In truth, every question Li Wei Yang asked was a trap.
If he answered one, Li Wei Yang would use his response to explain the remaining two questions.
First of all, Li Wei Yang had long been convinced that the Jiang family participated in this ruse.
Secondly, she already knew that this was a scheme against Tuoba Rui and Tuoba Yu.
If he answered the first question, it would be no different than exposing the pact between the Jiang family and Tuoba Zhen.
Li Wei Yang naturally had an answer for this.
She only wanted him to confirm it.
If he did, it would put the Fifth Prince in the palm of Li Wei Yang’s hands.
He could not let Li Wei Yang confirm her suspicions and in turn, better grasp the Jiang family’s actions.
If His Majesty found out that the Jiang family had something in their hands, His Majesty would suspect that the Fifth Prince did not suddenly act foolishly.
As for the third question, he absolutely could not answer it because it was related to the Jiang family’s next move.
Once it was revealed, he would have no way to proceed.
Jiang Hua clenched the piece in his hand.
He desperately needed to know if Jiang Hai and Jiang Tian were in her hands or not, how they were, whether they were dead or alive, and how to force Li Wei Yang to hand them over!
This was a frightening form of self-torment.
Jiang Hua kept thinking about it and revisiting his thoughts.
Although he tried his best to keep calm, he thought about which question to answer and how he could fool his opponent.
No, Li Wei Yang wasn’t someone who could be easily fooled.
Since she raised these questions, she would be able to determine whether or not he spoke truthfully.
If he lied to her, there was a chance Jiang Hai and Jiang Tian were as good as dead.
Jiang Hua’s playing speed visibly slowed down.
The black and white pieces fought fiercely on end.
There were pieces within traps that were traps themselves, highly complex stratagems.
Li Wei Yang set another piece down and smiled faintly: “Third Young Master has the ideal stratagem, quickly seizing many of your opponent’s pieces in just one move.
A pity, who knows if this is a decisive decision or a futile move in the end.”
At this moment, Jiang Hua chose to answer the first question.
“If Tuoba Zhen ascended the throne, the Jiang family would gain military power and complete control of the 13 southern provinces of Da Li.” He smiled as he said so.
Li Wei Yang smiled.
It was as she expected.
“Are the two of them in your hands?” Jiang Hua said coldly.
“Are you already working with Tuoba Yu? Are the schemes behind San Huangzi’s defeat by your hands?”
Li Wei Yang just smiled: “Yes, Tuoba Yu and I have already formed an alliance.” She chose to answer the second question even though she knew he wanted to know the answer to the first question the most.
However, he was the one who put out three questions and left it ambiguous, so she couldn’t be blamed.
Jiang Hua lowered another piece, cutting off Li Wei Yang’s path to retreat and slowly asked: “Is Concubine Lian one of your people? Is the medicine that Zhou Da Shou presented to the Emperor poisonous? Do you really want to make Tuoba Yu the Emperor?”
These three questions seemed relatively simple, but Li Wei Yang knew all three were dangerous to answer, especially the last one.
Jiang Hua already knew she and Tuoba Yu formed an alliance but asked her if she was genuinely helping him become Emperor to see what her cards were and whether she was genuinely helping Tuoba Yu or using him.
If it was to use him, the Jiang family had a chance to find an opportunity to defeat her.
“Concubine Lian is one of my people.” Li Wei Yang placed another piece down.
He already knew the answer to this question, but there was no evidence.
She resolved the battle on the board without the slightest discomfort, “It’s my turn to ask again.”
She smiled slightly.
Her expression remained calm and natural, her voice gentle and unrushed like a pleasant sound like a spider’s web capturing its prey, “Where did you send Jiang Nan? Where is Li Min Feng? How is Duke Jiang doing?”
Jiang Hua’s hand briefly stopped.
This was a game, but it could not be said to be an easy one.
Li Wei Yang was evaluating him based on his answers, understanding him and looking for his weaknesses.
In essence, this was a battle of wits, a bloody battle to determine who lives and dies.
Everything she had done was beyond his imagination.
If he answered where Jiang Nan was, it was the same as delivering a fatal advantage to Li Wei Yang’s hands.
As for Li Min Feng, Li Wei Yang wanted his life.
If he answered, he would be putting Li Min Feng to death.
As for Duke Jiang’s health… Now that he was 65 years old, Li Wei Yang is suddenly concerned for his health.
There was no need to say that when there is a time and place to express it.
This damn girl did not loosen her grip in the slightest! He turned the piece back and forth in his hand, thinking about what Li Wei Yang said, lost in his thoughts.
The black and white pieces on the board seemed to transform into pawns and soldiers.
You surround me, I will trap you, cutting down one another and killing.
Li Wei Yang noticed her opponent had fallen into a trance.
She pointed at the board and said: “The Third Young Master of the Jiang family prides himself in his wit and outstanding strategies, but on the board, you cannot deal with an inferior player like me much less speak of bravely fighting and establishing meritorious service on the battlefield—” In the blink of an eye, she lowered another piece.
Jiang Hua watched wide-eyed as he was trapped by his opponent.
He planned to break through the encirclement, but he was trapped in the northeast corner.
He grew anxious by the moment, feeling the blood rising from his chest and everything in front of him almost blur away.
A bit of time passed.
The mole on Jiang Hua’s eyebrows were almost livid.
He was furious to the point where his face had reddened.
He wanted to place the piece in his hand down to break the encirclement when he discovered the white pieces had a way to break out of the encirclement but had to kill the surrounding black pieces first.
There was too much linked to its surroundings.
It was difficult to decide.
Li Wei Yang raised her eyes and looked at him: “Third Young Master, don’t just focus on playing.
You haven’t answered my question yet.”
“We hid Li Min Feng in the town of Dian in Yun Province—” Jiang Hua was forced to make a decision, but once he said that, he realized he made a grave mistake.
He suddenly looked up at Li Wei Yang.
“So it turns out Duke Jiang isn’t in good health!” Li Wei Yang smiled.
Jiang Hua heard Li Wei Yang’s softly spoken words and everything in front of him turned black.
Bile rose in the back of his throat and he vomited up fresh blood.
The opponent’s playing piece closed in with every step.
He made a mistake, a grave mistake.
He should not have avoided the third question.
He avoided it and chose to sacrifice Li Min Feng but in doing so, he revealed that Li Min Feng was currently with Duke Jiang, so Duke Jiang must be ill and in poor health, which is why he did not rush back for Duke Furen’s funeral and may not be able to hold up for much longer.
In fact, Jiang Hua was no longer certain of the future himself.
As his grandfather aged, the stranger and more irritable his temperament became.
He was also injured and often fainted and needed to recuperate well, but the Jiang family could not accept that Duke Jiang had fallen.
No matter how powerful the family was, it still needed its leader, they needed him! He was too foolish! Too foolish!
Jiang Hua’s mind seemed to have become murky, chaotic, frantic, crazy… Li Wei Yang’s previous question transformed into the sharpest dagger, cutting through any useless things and lies he might say.
He vaguely felt like she had understood everything!
In his answer, the truth was always mixed in with some falsehood, but most of it was true.
Now, he understood why Li Wei Yang asked these questions.
It was not to get answers to the questions themselves but to extract information from him, no, even to strike down his confidence!
Li Wei Yang looked at her opponent with pity and softly said: “Third Young Master, just admit defeat.”
“No, I didn’t lose!” Jiang Hua wiped away the blood on his lips and spoke coldly.
He asked three more questions.
In turn, Li Wei Yang replied.
It continued back and forth, even broaching on the subject of Tuoba Yu’s forces and confidants, Li Wei Yang’s cards, secrets they did not want their opponents to know, but they were aware.
The answers were partly true and partly false.
There was truth in the lies.
It had to be carefully examined in order to extract essential information.
He needed to guess the truth and lies from her words, but now, he only felt a throbbing headache.
Through these questions, she confidently grasped the situation and weaknesses of her opponent, gradually approaching many of the Jiang family’s buried secrets.
She had borrowed this opportunity to evaluate Jiang Hua’s thoughts, observe and predict their next moves.
Jiang Hua spat out blood again.
The pieces on the board were all surrounded.
Li Wei Yang stared straight at him, unblinking, and softly sighed again, “Human willpower simply cannot defeat destiny.
Fate is decided by the Heavens.
Third Young Master, I am rather disappointed.
How can someone like you be called talent?”
The words were soft and pleasant to the ear but full of regret and pity.
Jiang Hua was strong-willed and always victorious from a young age.
Seeing his greatest pride lost, he was furious.
His veins throbbed violently, wishing he could break his head and die on the spot!
However, at this moment, a bird suddenly spread its wings and flew out from a tree.
The sound broke through Jiang Hua’s trance.
He suddenly shook off his anger and looked at Li Wei Yang.
He was stunned to see she had forced him into this hellish trance with every step, willing to commit suicide and die!
When he realized this, Jiang Hua’s eyes were brimming with anger and hatred.
The girl in front of him was dangerous and quite diligent.
He was momentarily careless and almost died in her hands, falling into hellish trance.
Li Wei Yang saw he was conscious again and smiled regretfully: “Third Young Master should throw away the fragrant sachet.
Sometimes, if you think too hard, you will only end up hurting yourself instead.”
Translator: Chau V.
Editor: Chau V.
Chapter 128: Lamb to be Slaughtered
Stunned, Jiang Hua then realized something.
He originally wanted to use a game of Go as a medium to allude to the disputes in the world and trap Li Wei Yang in a trance.
With the hallucination-inducing grass Jiang Tian once gave him, its unique fragrance could make those who inhaled it gradually lose their mind and fall into his trap.
Jiang Hua was rather presumptuous and having taken the antidote in advance, he was not afraid.
Once he set everything in place, Li Wei Yang would naturally reveal everything, one by one, even releasing his brothers and Li Wei Yang’s unrevealed card.
What he wanted to know most was what she would do with the Jiang family next! However, he did not expect his opponent to be a chessmaster as well and a step ahead, having seen through his deceit!
When playing Go, prioritizing victory was forbidden.
Jiang Hua strived for victory, so he did everything he could.
He was so persistent that he lost himself and ended up being used by Li Wei Yang instead!
He sighed and tossed away the sachet he always had with him: “Li Wei Yang, you are a respectable opponent.” Not only are you respectable, such an opponent is difficult to find in a lifetime.
With such frightening strength, he could not but eliminate her!
Li Wei Yang broke into a smile.
The traces of her facial expression were like that of a painting, but the childlike innocence had gradually faded over the years.
The youthful face had developed an air of excellence, raised eyebrows projecting a refined air, and a cold light that emanated from her being, chilling down to the bone.
“Such a high praise.” Li Wei Yang herself knew that if she were on the battlefield today, strategizing and moving a dangerous playing piece, who knows how many times she would have died.
However, once he was in the Capital, Jiang Hua who excelled at battle strategies was like a fierce tiger lost in the desert.
Without its strengths, it could only die of thirst.
Everyone must be in their home territory in order to wage a war and be guaranteed to be victorious.
Jiang Hua had been away from the Capital for many years and was accustomed to devising strategies, his strategies were always victorious because Duke Jiang protected and respected him.
Every one of his strategies on the battlefield could be carried out.
He only needed to think about how to respond to the enemy, but here, that was not the only thing to consider.
Jiang Hua slightly trembled and retreated a few steps.
The taste of fresh blood in his mouth was intense.
He sat down next to her, picked up the cup of tea and took a sip.
The warm tea made him feel a bit better.
Li Wei Yang, he just discovered she made him excited and unnerved.
Every strategy he set forth fell within her expectations.
His opponent understood every single move beforehand.
It would be the regret of a lifetime to not be able to meet such a person in this life.
To some extent, she was like his soulmate.
She knew him better than his father and brothers, even the Duke he always admired.
In recent years, he always wanted to find a soulmate, but who knew the person right in front of him was someone who wanted to eliminate the Jiang family.
“You are not wrong.
My grandfather was ambushed during a border trip a year ago.
An arrow through the chest.
Not long after, he would cough up blood.
He barely survived after having invited many Imperial Physicians.” Jiang Hua slowly said, “However, holding up for three or five years will not be a problem.”
“Oh, three or five years? Duke Jiang would already be seventy years old at that time.” Li Wei Yang’s smile was exceptionally gentle.
Jiang Hua clenched his teeth and resisted the chaos in his heart.
He stood up again and resumed to stare intently at the board.
He moved a piece: “By that time, my filial piety mourning period will have passed.”
The cold wind surged forward, penetrating the hearts of these two people.
One looked down at the board, brimming with hatred.
The other lowered their eyes as if wistful, only the sound of their breathing could be heard.
“I’m afraid Heavenly intentions are unpredictable.” Li Wei Yang smiled as she finally said this.
Jiang Hua could have been forced to die just now.
It was a pity.
Truly a pity.
In fact, she felt extremely regretful.
Just a bit more, just a little bit more, but if Jiang Hua died of anger then it had nothing to do with her.
He didn’t bring the fragrant sachet with good intentions.
If she had not encountered this in the past, she would have never suspected anything.
Jiang Hua desperately suppressed the burning blood in his entire body.
Today, he came and did not secure the slightest useful news.
Instead, he revealed a lot of secret information.
Although he wove lies into the truth, he believed Li Wei Yang would be able to clearly distinguish between the two.
His hand shook as he raised the piece again.
“Bai Zhi, pour another cup of tea for the Third Young Master.” Li Wei Yang said with a smile.
“No need!” Jiang Hua firmly shouted, putting down his final piece.
Li Wei Yang looked at him, smiled gently and calmly lowered her chess piece.
Jiang Hua’s face changed, “I lost.” He coughed up a few more mouthfuls of blood.
He was in such pain that he fell to the ground and could not get up.
“Oh no, how could this be? Bai Zhi, why haven’t you helped the Third Young Master stand up yet?” Li Wei Yang seemed incredibly surprised.
Bai Zhi saw this was very strange.
They were only playing Go, how could it turn into a situation like this? She did not know that it was Jiang Hua who intended to harm others first, then he became desperate to win and fell into Li Wei Yang’s trap.
He was furious with himself.
He even blatantly lost at Go.
How could this be?! He swatted away the maid’s outreached hands and said in a cold voice: “No need to see me off.” He quickly walked out without asking a word about the safety of his brothers.
Bai Zhi looked at Li Wei Yang, puzzled, but Li Wei Yang only smiled faintly: “Put away the board.”
Bai Zhi nodded and lowered her voice: “Xiaojie–”
Li Wei Yang idly played with a few Go pieces and said, “If he came, demanding to search with great fanfare today, I would be at a disadvantage instead, but it’s a pity this person is paranoid and likes to remain mysterious.
This allowed me to be lucky and win a game.”
Bai Zhi still couldn’t understand, but Li Wei Yang didn’t bother to further explain.
She knew that when Jiang Hua returned, once he heard the news, he would fall gravely ill.
Whether or not he could get up in the future depends on him.
Such an arrogant person cannot stand defeat, but Li Wei Yang was different from him.
After living in the Cold Palace for so many years, she knew no one is ever undefeated.
The important thing is to be patient when you fail and make preparations.
Men of the Jiang family were extraordinarily talented.
It is a pity such that smooth sailing is too good to be true, much like the lesson of the tall tree forcefully swayed by the wind.
Jiang Hua left the Li residence.
When departing, he could not even climb up his horse, frightening the Jiang family guards.
They quickly arranged a sedan to take him back to the Jiang residence.
He just arrived at the door of the study when he saw Jiang Xu glaring at him with a forlorn expression: “Where did you go?”
“I …” Jiang Hua reluctantly calmed his mind and was just about to speak when he heard Jiang Xu say: “Your Eldest Brother was found dead at Yi Cui Pavilion.”
Jiang Hua heard the bad news and felt his entire heart was about to shatter.
His self-restraint was cast up away into the clouds.
His face was cold: “How could that be!” How could Li Wei Yang dare?
Jiang Xu’s brows were tightly furrowed, giving him a frightening appearance: “There is a rumor on the streets that your Eldest Brother has a good relationship with the first-class singer Liu Yun.
Today, he came from the Crown Prince Manor and for some reason, countless people saw him go in, then get drunk and fight with other guests.
That person took advantage of his drunken state and burned him to death at Yi Cui Pavillion…”
“He died…and was even burned to death…” That means there was no evidence left behind, except for the rumors everywhere! Jiang Hua could not believe it.
How could countless people see his Eldest Brother go in!
Jiang Xu was extremely grief-stricken, his tears freely falling: “Not only that, now the entire Capital is saying the Eldest Young Master of the Jiang family is out enjoying flowers during his grandmother’s mourning period, getting drunk at a Pavilion.
That he is an unfaithful, unfilial grandchild with no sense of righteousness, damn it!”
Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! Goodness! Damn it for goodness sake! Li Wei Yang, there is no woman who is as poisonous as you in this world.
Jiang Hua suddenly laughed aloud, panicked laughter like a goshawk strangled by the neck.
Jiang Xu looked at him in horror: “Hua'er! What happened to you?!”
Jiang Hua laughed uncontrollably as if he needed to laugh and cough up his internal organs.
He suddenly fell backwards before Jiang Xu could catch him.
Jiang Xu was shocked and quickly reached out to catch him.
Unfortunately, he was a moment too late.
Jiang Hua fell down the stairs and onto the ground below…
As for Jiang Yue Lan, she was rather surprised to see that Li Wei Yang was able to return safely.
At that moment, she felt unspeakably bitter.
Why didn’t she die? Clearly, so many things had been done, but she still returned unscathed— She calmed down and ordered someone to prepare pastries and went to visit Li Min De.
As an aunt, she should naturally show some concern for the Third Young Master.
However, more importantly, every time she saw his appearance, an indescribable feeling in her heart emerged.
A maid came in to report back.
Jiang Yue Lan subconsciously touched her hair with a hint of anxiousness.
“Mother?” Li Chang Xiao looked at her a bit strangely but smiling.
“It’s nothing.” Jiang Yue Lan answered her with a smile.
She did not want anyone to pick up on her thoughts.
She called Li Chang Xiao here to avoid suspicion, lest others say that she, a young aunt, came to personally visit.
This would not be good.
However, Jiang Yue Lan was confident that she was innocent, and there was nothing for others to see.
Li Min De was sick, and Li Wei Yang had gone to He Xiang Courtyard.
He had never liked a crowded room, so he sent the maids away and was resting alone.
Although he wasn’t in a life-threatening condition, he had a nonstop fever due to the severity of his injury in the past three days.
The hot weather also meant the wounds were more likely to ulcer.
Li Wei Yang often came to take care of him whether he was awake or not fully conscious.
Lao Furen and Li Xiao Ran also came several times, but he was unconscious.
When Jiang Yue Lan came in, she happened to meet the physician treating him.
Li Chang Xiao was concerned about Li Min De’s injury and stayed at the door to ask more about his condition.
Meanwhile, the maids led Jiang Yue Lan inside.
Through the gauze curtains, Jiang Yue Lan could vaguely see inside but could not make out his face at all.
She told the maid: “I have a few words to say to the Third Young Master.
Head out first.”
The two maids looked at one another but then remembered that there were also shadow guards around.
Who would dare do anything to Li Min De? They didn’t say anything and quietly withdrew.
Jiang Yue Lan saw them leave.
As if possessed, she drew back the gauze curtain and looked closely at Li Min De, who was still unconscious and motionless.
Her heart was moved.
She had not seen him for days.
These days, his black hair was damp with sweat, laying flat against his exposed neck, creating a stark black and white contrast.
It was truly a sight to see.
If it was an ordinary person, his face would look pale and weak, but this face remained clear and handsome.
On the other hand, the paleness from blood loss expressed a heartbreaking fragility that could not help but move others.
She resented not being able to softly call out and wake him up.
Jiang Yue Lan’s heart pounded ceaselessly.
She was married to Li Xiao Ran at the age of 18.
Although he retained his refined disposition, he was still old, and even though he favored her immensely, he only talked to her about trivial things on any given day.
When Li Xiao Ran opened his mouth, each and every time, it was to talk about the current situation, respectability and responsibility.
Jiang Yue Lan knew what Li Xiao Ran was like in front of his concubines, practically singing of refinery and grace, but when it came to her, he always bore the solemn air of a husband.
It made her respect and fear him, but she could not kiss or love him.
Before she was married, she thought about serving her stepmother wholeheartedly, taking care of her younger siblings and working hard, so her mother wouldn’t randomly marry her off.
She wanted her father to remember her hard work and give her a good future.
Who would have thought she would be married off to Li Xiao Ran and live the life of a pawn.
In the Li family, Lao Furen was suspicious of her and Li Xiao Ran was wary of her.
She lived as cautiously as she had before.
It was no different than before she was married.
She could bear all of it.
After all, it is the same for everyone, but why does the Li family have a Anping Xianzhu?”
She was clearly a lowly concubine-born daughter.
How could she have unrivaled honor and prestige in the residence and even respected as a Xianzhu?! Even Tuoba Yu and others chased after her like ducks, their only wish was to welcome her as a consort! Especially when Jiang Yue Lan herself, although her birth mother passed away early, she was still a legitimate daughter of the Jiang family, and yet she still had to live cautiously—even her marriage was decided by others!
She didn’t want to be envious of Li Wei Yang, but she couldn’t help herself.
From the moment she stepped foot through the door, watching Li Wei Yang act step by step, watching her rebel step by step, Jiang Yue Lan’s eyes almost dripped of venom.
However, she knew she had to control her actions and wait until the right moment.
So when Li Chang Le came to win her favor, she accepted it.
When Li Chang Le asked her to cooperate with the poisoning, she pretended to be reluctant when she even agreed to leave Li Wei Yang behind at the hands of assassins, as per the Jiang family’s suggestion.
At that time, she only thought that she was jealous of Li Wei Yang.
Now that she saw Li Min De, she found that the most poisonous snake in her heart was telling her that what she was most jealous about was not Li Wei Yang ’s status and honor, nor her unprincipled demeanor towards others.
Rather, what she was most jealous of was that there was always someone by her side, protecting her regardless of what she said or what malicious things she did.
That person was Li Min De, the handsome Third Young Master.
“Why? Even if it’s an assassin’s poisoned arrow, you would still block it for her? Was it worth it?” Jiang Yue Lan murmured softly.
Li Wei Yang has no heart.
You see her pretty smiling face, but can’t you see she doesn’t have any humanity? She knew how Jiang Hai ended up and was also aware that Jiang Hua was ill and bedridden.
The Imperial Court abruptly cast judgment.
The Fifth Prince was found to be guilty of rebellion, intent on murdering the Crown Prince and implicating countless others.
In such a short time, everyone in the Capital was left feeling uneasy.
Tuoba Yu was originally implicated as well, but no one had foreseen that when the Crown Prince went to submit a memorial to the throne against Tuoba Yu’s collusion with the Fifth Prince, he discovered that Tuoba Yu’s own memorial was already on the Emperor’s desk.
He was even a step ahead of him and barely ten hours had passed.
The Crown Prince had been waiting for a favorable opportunity for a while, but unfortunately, it had already been snatched away by Tuoba Yu.
The Crown Prince had no choice but simply stare at the Fifth Prince, intending to put him to death.
In the end, the Fifth Prince and his faction were sentenced to death.
Even Marquis Yongning, who was the Fifth Prince’s father-in-law, was not spared.
However, the person the Crown Prince wanted to eliminate most and needed to eliminate—could not be eliminated.
He had to say that the elaborate and painstaking efforts put into the assasination ultimately delivered disappointing results.
It could be said to be a grand failure.
Eliminating the Fifth Prince changed nothing in the overall situation, wasting so many of their forces…
Tuoba Yu wasn’t in the Capital but grasped everything in the palm of his hand.
He caught wind of it not long after the assassination happened and quickly recovered.
Who would it be other than Li Wei Yang? Jiang Yue Lan sighed.
How could a woman play the political game, even if she is young and gentle and in the hearts of many gentlemen? What kind of woman is not gentle? Li Min De certainly must have failed to understand this.
That is why he is determined to follow through with Li Wei Yang.
Although she did not know what the actual relationship between them was, Jiang Yue Lan had a feeling that Li Min De’s feelings for Anping Xianzhu was a bit unusual… Others may not see it, but she had always subconsciously looked out for Li Min De and eventually noticed a difference.
Perhaps, it was not something she saw but something she felt.
At times, a woman’s intuition is terrifying.
Li Min De opened his eyes.
He did not know how long it had been since he was asleep.
He only felt his mouth was dry and his throat felt as if it was on fire, so he gathered the strength to sit up and find a cup of water.
Someone by his side hurriedly brought a cup of warm water over.
Li Min De took two sips and felt much better.
Thinking it was Li Wei Yang, he softly called out: “My wound is hurting—”
His voice was soft and fragile, completely different from his usual solemn demeanor.
It seems he was acting coy.
Li Min De barely said much before coughing violently.
That person quickly took the cup of tea from him and gently patted his back.
When Li Min De finally stopped coughing, he suddenly remembered Li Wei Yang had gone to He Xiang Courtyard.
How could she be back so quickly? He suddenly looked up.
It turned out to be Jiang Yue Lan with a gentle smile.
He felt disgusted and immediately pushed her away, angrily saying: “Where are the people outside?!”
He was badly injured, so his voice was hoarse, and no one outside heard him.
Jiang Yue Lan quickly asked: “What is it? Is it difficult to drink my tea?” Her voice was so soft, it was as if her tears were about to fall.
Jiang Yue Lan placed the cup of tea down beside her and gently said: “Wei Yang went to see Lao Furen, what is Third Young Master hoping for? Why can’t I take care of you?” She had always been self-sufficient and had never made a wrong move, but when faced with a face this young and handsome, she could not help but blush, her heart racing as she said so.
Li Min De slipped away like a viper and kept waving his arms, telling her to go outside as he continued to cough.
Jiang Yue Lan’s face paled, but she forced herself to say: “Third Young Master, I may not have been in this household for very long, I have seen many things.
Today, I came with no motives and only have some honest words for the Third Young Master.
Li Wei Yang is your paternal cousin, you cannot be together in any way at all.
You might as well let these affections die.
Don’t waste your time.
Think about it, if outsiders found out about this, both your reputations will be crippled—”
She carefully observed the changes in Li Min De’s facial expression with every word.
She wanted to strike when he was most vulnerable.
She didn’t believe that Li Min De wouldn’t understand the consequences.
She didn’t believe it that Li Min De would persist and keep his faith after knowing the consequences.
He was simply too young and innocent to be bewitched by Li Wei Yang’s charms.
Didn’t men in this life like gentle and considerate women? Regarding the guqin, Go, calligraphy, and painting, and the gentleness of a woman, did she lose to Li Wei Yang on any of those factors? So those were untouchable emotions, but why couldn’t she—
Her voice grew softer and warmer: “I understand your sentiments.
You are just lonely, like me…” If he softens his heart in the slightest, she will be able to make an impression on him.
Li Xiao Ran didn’t matter.
The Li family didn’t matter.
As long as she wanted to do so, she could play with everything in the palm of her hands.
Just like how she had been standing in the dark, secretly watching Li Wei Yang and the Jiang family fight to the death.
She will certainly be victorious!
Li Min De’s head was getting hotter and hotter.
He suddenly felt dizzy and struggled to stand up but could not find the strength.
The fragrance on that woman got closer and closer to him.
In the midsummer weather, the strong fragrance melded with the smell of sweat reached him.
The closer she got, the more disgusted he was.
It almost made him vomit—what was she to him even! Daring to compare herself to Wei Yang! It wasn’t clear where that strength came from, but when he pushed her arm away, the force was enough to send Jiang Yue Lan falling onto the ground.
The hairpin on her head and hair were in disarray.
The tenderness on her face turned into anger: “You—” She quickly stood up.
Arm extended, she knocked the cup of tea to the ground.
The cup shattered with a crystal clear sound: “Don’t think I won’t dare to do anything to you! I still have many ways for you to heed and obey me!”
“Oh? Is that so?” A voice suddenly came from behind like a gentle breeze.
Jiang Yue Lan panicked and turned around to see Li Wei Yang standing behind the gauze curtain not too far away.
She was smiling as if she did not see Jiang Yue Lan there at all.
Translator: Chau V.
Editor: Chau V.
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