Chapter 80 Part 1: Tit for Tat 

 The beautiful melody ended; Yan Zhi stood up, bowed and left silently.Li Min De suddenly stood up: “Sanjie, I have forgotten my cloak, I’ll go out and get it.” His cloak was obviously in the carriage, so how could he have forgotten? Li Weiyang was curious; she wanted to know who Yan Zhi was, and why did she attract Li Min De’s attention? She did not reveal any change in expression in front of the two princes, but gently smiled: “Go ahead.” Jiu Gongzhu jumped up: “I’ll go with you!” Unexpectedly, she gave out a shrill scream at the next moment.
Li Weiyang said apologetically: “I am so sorry Princess, I did not do it on purpose.” Li Weiyang had spilt her teacup onto Jiu Gongzhu’s beautiful skirts. Jiu Gongzhu pouted her lips; her lips were so pouted that one could balance an oil lamp from it.
“You are so clumsy!” She was oblivious to the fact that Li Weiyang did this on purpose to prevent her from following Li Min De. She left the room to change into new attire.
Aside from the servants, the only three left in the room had weird expressions on their faces. Tuoba Zhen suddenly laughed and said: “The three of us seem to have a special affinity.” Indeed, it was affinity, but an accursed affinity.  Li Weiyang laughed coldly and turned to look at the river.
“What’s that?” she suddenly asked. Tuoba Yu followed the direction of her gaze: “Oh, that’s Jade Peak Pagoda, built on an island at the heart of the river.
It is especially beautiful at night.
If you’d like, we could visit the island another day to take a look.” Li Weiyang had a small smile on her lips, and muttered in thought: “It is a good location.” Her words had another hidden meaning in it. Tuoba Zhen’s eyes flashed and he stilled for a moment in surprise.
He asked blandly: “What do you mean by that?” She looked at him and replied with a smile: “The terrain is good.
This river is formed by the merging of the mountain stream and Hu Po Lake.
If one were to cut a long canal at lowest point the watershed where the two meet, he could split the river into two and obtain easy control of ship navigation and irrigation of crops.
You see, isn’t it a good place?” Tuoba Zhen’s face changed.
He did not know how Li Weiyang found out, but this was his original plan, which he did not get the chance to start yet.
If he executed it, he would gain complete control over the two rivers’ transportation; his wealth would increase immeasurably, far better than Tuoba Yu and the others.
He was however, unable to think of a plan to obtain this land without alerting others of his scheme.
He definitely could not allow anyone else to make the first move.
In shock, he immediately replied: “If this idea could work, why hadn’t anyone done it so many years past?” Xianzhu shouldn’t think unrealistically, this is merely empty talk.” Li Weiyang had a small smile upon her lips: “San Dianxia should know best if it is just my wishful thinking.
In the past, there was the famous Xian Yuan Yan; the river was split into inner and outer sections, and the flow of the waters was controlled.
For this river, splitting it could not only prevent floodings, enable trades and irrigation, there is still the massive and gorgeous Dong Jiang Bridge spanning the banks.
These should not have been possible by human hands and yet they exist, so what else could be impossible!” Tuoba Zhen’s smile, which was originally on his face, had completely disappeared.He suddenly felt coldness all over. Li Weiyang met his eyes, and it was as if she understood what he was thinking, like she even knew of the next step in his plan.
Having seen a gaze like this, it was as if he was doused in a sheet of cold water. Tuoba Yu deftly detected the tense atmosphere between the both of them, and just when he was about to speak, someone outside spoke: “Jiu Gongzhu says that her stomach hurt, and ran out from the window!” This playful girl! Tuoba Yu didn’t think of anything else; he stood up quickly and said: “Xianzhu, please remain here, I’ll go out to look for her.” Li Weiyang gave a small smile: “Dianxia, Jiu Gongzhu must have gone to the carriage to look for my San Di.” Tuoba Yu hestitated; he was not worried that Tuoba Zhen would have the guts do anything, as this place was his territory after all.
was it really safe to leave Li Weiyang here? “Pay attention to any movement in the room!” he ordered the guards outside the door in a low voice. Tuoba Yu quickly went downstairs, and it was only Li Weiyang and Tuoba Zhen in the room now.
Li Weiyang stood up; she had no interest in sharing a table with such a person. Tuoba Zhen suddenly said: “Xianzhu, have you ever heard of this story?” Li Weiyang turned to face him, her eyebrows quirking up.
Tuoba Zhen poured himself a cup of wine: “In the previous dynasty, there was a strong ruler who led his army personally in the fight at the Southern Border.
Sadly, after repeated attacks and struggling to maintain the rear, many of his people tried to convince him to retreat.
Still, he insisted.
The monarch paced up and down in front of his tent, and wrote two words “Ji Lei1” in the sand.
No one understood what it meant, except for a smart man who immediately packed up and wanted to leave.
His comrades asked him why, and he replied: “The two words means that the food is tasteless, but it seems like a pity to give up.
Bixia is starting to consider giving up, but he has yet to make a confirmed move.
Since he definitely will retreat, we should start off early.
The others realised that he had a point, and so started preparations as well.
The emperor found out and was shocked.
What do you think he did to the smart man?”鸡肋1 – Literally chicken ribs; used to describe something as tasteless. Li Weiyang smiled: “I do not know what the ruler would have done, but I do know if it was you, San Dianxia, you would definitely kill those people who are able to speculate your intentions.” Tuoba Zhen did not even blink.
“You are right.
On the battleground, even before an order is issued by the commander, the smart man tried to be clever and thus affected the morale of the army.
As a leader of the troops, only by killing the man would he be able to demonstrate an example.
Therefore, one should be smart, but not too smart.
One should not try to display her cleverness in front of others, to prevent herself from getting killed.
It would not be worth it.” Li Weiyang replied coldly: “Sorry, I do not have time to remain here to listen to Dianxia’s stories.” Tuoba Zhen downed a cup of wine, a flash of coldness glinting in his eyes: “Li Weiyang, I was not telling a story, I am recounting an actual event in history.  History does tend to repeat itself; if you were the smart man, do you think I would kill you?” In the moment, Li Weiyang saw the intention to kill in Tuoba Zhen’s eyes. Tuoba Zhen would definitely be panicking, because it was always his plan to cut the canal in the future.
Now that the Seventh Prince has found out, he would not be able to carry it out.
Li Weiyang knew of the huge impact her revelation would have on Tuoba Zhen, but she did it anyway.
Moreover, she did it right in his face, just to make him angry. Li Weiyang felt like she was grabbing the scruff of a tiger's neck – filled with a sense of achievement.
Of course, it was a dangerous thing to do; a single misstep and she could end up hurting herself. She smiled gently, her clear eyes dancing alight with sparks, and suddenly took two steps forward.
Her hands were folded on the table, and she faced Tuoba Zhen directly: “San Dianxia, I’d advise you not to make any moves without careful consideration, especially if you are thinking of killing me or harming the people by my side.
You definitely will regret making decision.” Tuoba Zhen’s voice froze like an iceberg: “Li Weiyang! Do you really not care for anything at all?!”

 Li Weiyang’s lips curled: “Wrong, I care about much things, especially my own life.
So please do not scare me, San Dianxia, because I cannot stand to be frightened; if I were to accidentally blurt out things I shouldn’t mention, I’m afraid that San Dianxia would lose his head together with my own cheap existence!” She released her grip, and turned around to leave. Tuoba Zhen totally could not believe it, he could not believe that Li Weiyang actually had anything on him.
He felt that she was just threatening him, scaring him, or perhaps it was only a small spark of intelligence that just happened to let her guess his plans with the river.
He therefore, did not take this threat to mind, and shot forward to block the door; her own exit route: “Li Weiyang! Stand there!” Tuoba Zhen stared at Li Weiyang intently, as if his gaze filled with hatred would tear her apart.Bai Zhi, who was in the room, was stunned with shock.
Her far off position did not allow her to hear their exchange, but seeing San Dianxia’s unusual behavior, an endless fear surged in her heart.
Zhao Yue, who was standing at the sidelines, had her hand ready on her sword’s pommel. Li Weiyang looked back at him coldly.
Tuoba Zhen did not know why, but her expression caused him to have a moment’s difficulty in breathing. He gritted his teeth: “You dare leave without my permission?!” Li Weiyang smiled and stretched out her slim fingers to brush off a spot of wine stain on Tuoba Zhen’s chest: “San Dianxia, you have your sunshine path, while I have my wooden bridge to cross.
Remember to stay far away from me, don’t follow me around all day like a lost puppy.
I hated you ever since Day One.
Remember that!” She gently tapped his shoulder and sashayed out of the room, discarding him like a piece of smelly cloth. Tuoba Zhen was left standing there.
A cold wind blew towards him, and he felt a shiver from his head to his feet.
Just now, he clearly saw how bone chillingly cold Li Weiyang’s gaze was; it did not seem human, but as if she was a wronged spirit who had crawled out of hell to demand for his life! As she walked past a room, Li Weiyang did not go downstairs; she suddenly pushed open the adjoining door, smiling: “Qi Xianxia, did it feel good to eavesdrop?” The man who said that he was searching for Jiu Gongzhu was sitting there the whole time, smiling without a trace of guilt.
He raised his cup in salute: “Xianzhu has guts!” Li Weiyang laughed coolly: “Zhao Yue, keep watch outside.
Kill any busybodies who dare to step in!” “Understood.” Zhao Yue and Bai Zhi stepped back. Li Weiyang and Tuoba Yu were the only ones in the room. Tuoba Yu raised his eyebrows and gave a small smile: “How did Xianzhu guess that I was next door?” “The guards will naturally be the ones looking for our runaway princess.
Morever, since you know that Tuoba Zhen is up to no good, you wouldn’t simply leave me to deal with him alone, isn’t it?” Li Weiyang replied coldly. “Xianzhu knows me well indeed.” “Too bad that I was wrong about you!” Li Weiyang retorted.
“I had thought that after the previous incident, even if we cannot not trust each other fully, at the very least we are still allies.
Yet now you’re doing such sneaky things!” A flush of red appeared on Tuoba Yu’s cool face; he couldn’t help but admit that he still could not believe in Li Weiyang with all his heart.
“I did not mean this.” Li Weiyang suppressed her anger.
Actually, it was not unreasonable of Tuoba Yu to not trust her.
In this fight between the princes, it wouldn’t be impossible if Li Weiyang was actually a supporter of Tuoba Zhen, and her actions towards Tuoba Yu was all an act to gain his trust! From her previous life as his bitter rival, Li Weiyang knew that Tuoba Yu was not as naiive as that. Hence, she softened her displeasure and said in a low voice: “I know it will not be easy to gain Dianxia’s trust, therefore I have already prepared a great number of gifts to prove my sincerity to you.” “For example?” Tuoba Yu was suddenly very interested in what she had to say. “On the surface, San Huangzi is loving towards his brothers and respectful of the Emperor, but in actual fact, he has an ambitious heart.
He has not only secret ties with court officials, but connections with people from the underworld.
From his large web of elites serving in his household, there is an honorable mention of his four generals, three wise men, and two ladies. The four generals are Li Jing, Mu Yang, Zhou Heng, and Lu Lu; they are knowledgeable in the art of war, especially Li Jing, who has the title of ‘Heavenly dragon above the skies’ amongst the soldiers, after he fought and killed 506 men in a battle at the South border thirteen years ago.
Once a grand commander who led thousands of cavalry into battle, he was however, kicked out after causing delay in the army due to his drunken state eight years ago.
Tuoba Zhen later helped him to create a false identity to re-enter the army, where he is now a general. Mu Yang appears to be a weak scholar, with only a minor role as a censor in the Imperial Palace, but at the young age of sixteen, he had already taken on the role of sub-leader in a secret society. Zhou Heng was originally a family of court officials who served the previous Emperor; however, his entire clan of 109 members was beheaded due to a trap set by their enemies.  As a newborn, he managed to escape death and grew up in the wild.
Tuoba Zhen took him in, and also under a false name, inserted him into the royal guards, responsible for the personal safety of the Emperor.
He rose through the ranks and is now a sub-commander of the Northern branch of the imperial guard. Lu Lu comes from a commoner background, but he has good connections due to his skills in communication.
He is also cruel without a doubt and loyal to the core; that is why he is situated in the spy camp, specializing in silent assassinations.” Li Weiyang gave a small grin as she recounted.
Tuoba Yu inhaled deeply, folding his hands behind his back.
He fidgeted, brought his hands to his sides, and changed position yet again, bringing his hands into his sleeves.
He was obviously discomforted, as he did not know all the facts she had just said. There were some secrets that only Tuoba Zhen knew, that no one else should know about. Yet Li Weiyang had all these information.
She continued: “The three wise men are Gao Cheng, Jing Neng, and Sun Song.
Gao Cheng excels at plotting, and is an aide in the Crown Prince’s household.
Jing Neng is knowledgeable in the etiquette and practices of emperors; he is the Crown Prince’s teacher.
Sun Song has the gift of the gab; at this moment, he might not seem like much use, but at the crucial moment, his silver tongue is bound to help his master win the hearts of the officials and people. As for the two ladies, well…
one has already won the heart of the Emperor as his new favorite, while the other is now placed in Wu Huangzi’s home…” Tuoba Yu stood up, with a face full of extreme shock.
“Do you know what you are saying?” Li Weiyang smiled: “I know you do not believe that Tuoba Zhen has such power, but it is true that over the years, he has been making use of the Crown Prince’s wealth, the Empress’ power, together with Wu Xianfei’s family background, to do things for his own benefit.
His acting skills are definitely good, so good that the Empress and her son have been deceived by him for so many years.” Tuoba Yu’s intuition told him strongly that everything she had said was true; these pieces of information would not have come out of thin air so easily.
However, he still felt that she might have been reading too much into it – after all, every single prince would definitely have their own spies installed in their respective rival’s palace.
Tuoba Zhen — he did not think that he could really be this scary. Li Weiyang knew that he would have doubts; that he would not realise how dangerous this group of individuals could be.
“They are just the cornerstone of an iceberg.
Those who can be bribed will be bribed, if not, he would try to convince them.
If these two methods do not work, he’d kill them off.
I know that every huangzi has their own power and spies; those can simply be bought with money.
However, loyalty cannot be measured with cold hard cash.
I dare say that nobody else has the same amount of willpower and patience that Tuoba Zhen has.
Not everyone loves money; if you fail to buy someone over, would you be able to forgo your sleep and ride for seven days straight to find your target’s desired treasure as a gift it to him? Would you be willing to pay respects at someone else’s ancestral tomb on his behalf every Qing Ming festival without fail, just to convince him to join you? Are you able to demonstrate your sincerity to those uncouth hooligans from the pugilistic world? To achieve his aim, he will stop at nothing and fear nothing.
Qi Dianxia, you are unable to do this, because you are of high birth, you do not need to say anything and yet swarms of people will offer their help to you.
However, will they be unconditionally loyal, and die for you if necessary? Just based on this alone, be it you, the Crown Prince, or Wu Huangzi, there is no way you all can compare with Tuoba Zhen.” Tuoba Yu felt shiver down his spine, as if he was strung up from the roof.
He originally thought that Tuoba Zhen could not resist the temptation of ambition during the process of assisting the Crown Prince.
Who knew that he had plotted from the start to use the Crown Prince and the Empress as his chess pieces? No wonder he is able to be perfectly filial to the Empress and obedient to the Crown Prince; he is utterly a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Tuoba Yu sat silently.
After a while, he spoke.
“I believe you.
I would also like to know, how many people know about this?”

 “Other than the enraged San Dianxia who left in a huff, no one else but me and you.” said Li Weiyang with a smile upon her face. Some of these people have not been used to their full potential as of yet, but at the most crucial moment, these seemingly small characters would become the key to Tuoba Zhen’s quest for the throne. Tuoba Yu took a deep breath: “Will you mention this to anyone else?” Li Weiyang understood his underlying message, so she shook her head.
“Not a fourth person shall know about this.” Upon hearing this, Tuoba Yu let out a sigh of relief.
He did not know how Li Weiyang managed to get the information.
Everyone has their own secrets; so long as the content is true, who cares how she found out? Most importantly, she could not reveal these gambling chips to others. He subconsciously sighed again.
“Other than this place, I have another eighteen establishments to obtain news for me.
Over the years, I have obtained a vast amount of detailed information.
But based on what you have told me, out of the seventy scrolls of info regarding Tuoba Zhen, only two of them would be reliable.
The rest would be misleading clues that Tuoba Zhen had purposely planted.
This person, his motives are extremely frightening.” Li Weiyang could only smile.
Tuoba Yu might be second to none based on his insight and power of deduction, but in terms of patience in amassing information and paying attention to details in plots, he could not hold a candle to Tuoba Zhen.
This was nothing out of the ordinary; no one, including Tuoba Yu, would pay much attention to a Huangzi who did not pose as a threat.
He had wasted much effort on others and had neglected Tuoba Zhen.
Tuoba Zhen, on the contrary, would not leave any stone unturned; however careful Tuoba Yu might be, however big or powerful his backer Luo Guo Gong is, there was bound to be traceable information he could use against him. “No one is infallible; there must be someone who is bound to make you negligent.
They are too cunning and cruel, like a snake hiding in the dark, taking a bite out of you when you’re not alert.
So long as you have a hold on him, you have nothing to fear.” “I know all these people you have mentioned, but I have taken them as figures who are unimportant, and some of them are even my good friends.
I have come to realise that I have committed a grave mistake; much thanks to your advice.
I will remember this debt; if you ever find yourself in need, I will do my utmost best to help you.” Tuoba Yu said calmly, as if he was just having a casual and unimportant conversation. Li Weiyang looked into those piercing eyes, and she knew that it was a solemn promise.
She sank into silence, smiled gently and said: “Thank you.” “What you have said to Third Brother today..” he softened the hard look in his eyes, and slowly continued, “It was not to agitate him, but to obtain my trust.” Li Weiyang did not give any reply in denial or confirmation, she just smiled, and glanced at him after a long while.
Suddenly, she realised that he was watching her silently, with a hint of gentleness hidden in the depths of his eyes. He did not know since when did his interest in her transform into a strange sort of liking.
Tuoba Yu’s eyes took her in deeply, and he sighed: “You…” He seemed to have wanted to say something, but from the corner of his eyes, he realised that it was raining outside.
“I’ll send you to your carriage.” It was still bright and sunny when they’d left the mansion, and now the pitter patter of heavy rain descended upon them.
The people who had been admiring the lanterns were all searching for cover.
As Li Weiyang stood at the entrance of the inn, Bai Zhi spoke up: “Xiaojie, there is an umbrella in the carriage, Nubi will get it for you.” “Here.” Tuoba Yu had already ordered someone to bring an umbrella to him. Bai Zhi stepped forward to receive it, but Tuoba Yu smiled and stepped away.
“Allow me.” The rain trickled from the umbrella to his cheek; Tuoba Yu lowered his head, his voice, mixing with the raindrops, drifted to Li Weiyang’s ears: “Xianzhu should enjoy a good rest tonight, after you’ve reached home.” His side profile appeared extra clear and handsome in the rain.
Li Weiyang smiled.
“I do hope so.” Li Min De was waiting in front of the carriage.
It had been a full two hours since he had left, and he had not bothered to return.
Li Weiyang did not question him, and boarded the carriage. Tuoba Yu gave Li Min De a smile, which he returned coldly, and quickly stepped into the carriage. The carriage headed back towards the Li Residence.
Through the curtains, Li Weiyang could see the tall silhouette still remaining in the rain.
She did not understand why he did not use the umbrella, and he seemed to be gazing at the carriage, deep in thought.. Li Weiyang paused, and let the curtains fall.
Beside her, Li Min De spoke: “Sanjie –” She turned to look at him.
“What’s the matter?” “You’re not going to ask me where I’ve been?” Li Weiyang lifted her hands to softly brush away the thin layer of rain on his shoulders.
“You went to see Yan Zhi?” Li Min De was stunned and could not utter a word in reply. Li Weiyang smiled: “You did not eat anything during the feast just now.
I’ve ordered someone to bring food and wine here.
Bai Zhi.” Bai Zhi immediately responded to her name.
She opened the purple sandalwood lunchbox, laying out the dishes one by one.
Li Weiyang took one look at Li Min De’s pale face and said, “It is cold at night when it rains, why didn’t you at least put on another layer of clothes? Never mind, have some Osmanthus wine, it’ll help to get rid of the chills.” Li Min De froze.
Li Weiyang observed him; this youth had a clear and defined facial structure, blended with a soft beauty and strong willpower.
A combination of these two should have been conflicting, yet on his face, it was enrapturing.
Her eyes were filled with smiles: “Come over, quickly!” He came to her, but held on the chopsticks without touching the food. “What are you thinking of?” She reached over and flicked his forehead with her finger; Li Min De clutched his forehead at the sudden pain.“Drifting off again..
It looks like you are defying me on purpose!” “I was not –” He opened his mouth to explain. Li Weiyang suddenly laughed, and although it was gone in a flash, he was captivated by it. “Do not say things like ‘sorry I cannot tell you the truth’, although I do not like trickery…” She sighed.
“Whatever the case, you need only know one thing: I will not blame you, even though you refuse to tell me the truth…” Li Min De’s pupils narrowed, and a flash of gratitude appeared in the depths of his eyes, only to be replaced by sorrow.

 Li Weiyang saw the changes in his expression clearly, and involuntarily, a surge of heartache welled up in her.
She also felt a sense of distance, which made her feel sad.
This child who had depended on her, was he growing up? It was getting harder and harder to understand his feelings now. However, at the next moment, Li Min De suddenly laid his head on her shoulders. “What’s the matter?” Li Weiyang wondered, surprised. Li Min De did not reply her, and continued to rest on her shoulders.
His eyes were smarting on the verge of tears; every time he thought of the fact that he would have to leave her in the end, his heart felt twisted up in pain. “You said that you’ve grown up, you’ll definitely have your own secrets.
You should be happy that I did not probe, because it means that I trust you.” Li Weiyang pulled him up and stuffed the chopsticks back into his hands, and personally fed him a slice of sweet and sour fish: “Eat.” The osmanthus wine did not have a high alcohol content, and Li Weiyang enjoyed its sweet taste.
There were outsiders at dinner just now, and she did not think it wise to drink too much.
Right now, with only Li Min De present, she could slowly savour the wine.
As she drank the osmanthus wine, she felt warmth filling her entire body. As she looked at the thin ribbons of rain falling to the ground outside the window, Li Weiyang thought of Tuoba Zhen’s furious state.
She couldn’t help but laugh, and downed her wine in one gulp. Li Min De paused and turned to look at her. “Sanjie?” He had never seen her drink, let alone with such a strange expression at this timing. Li Weiyang paused and recovered her senses.
“I won’t get drunk, don’t worry.
It’s just a small cup.” she smiled and said. Li Min De eyed the cup in her hands.
“Didn’t you already drink three cups?” He took her cup from her hands and set it on the table, but as quick as lightning, she grabbed his cup and drank it dry. “Sanjie?!” “Hmm?” Li Weiyang smiled gently, a lock of black hair framing her clear face.
Under the candle lights in the carriage, her eyes were like smoke, clear and understated, and her expression had a hint of impatience.
“Since when did become so naggy, Mr Caretaker!” Li Min De lowered his head, embarrassed.
He saw that she still held the wine cup in her slim fingers, and her eyes, though filled with a tipsiness like crushed jade, remained staring at him clearly. Li Weiyang leaned back in her seat as if drunk, resting slightly on him. The rich floral smell of osmanthus, combined with the clear scent on her body, made a strange fragrance that permeated from his nose, to his limbs, and to the bottom of his heart. He suddenly wanted this moment to last forever, but a voice resonated in his head, reminding him not to be greedy, not to sink into this warmth…
your existence will only drag her down, and even cause her immeasurable dangers.
This is not a place where you should remain, and you will never be able to pay the price if you lose her completely… Li Min De dropped his head and suddenly reached out for the pitcher of osmanthus wine in front of him.
Using the glass cup that Li Weiyang had just used, he downed a cup, but to him, the taste was completely different from what he had drank beforehand. Zhao Yue was guarding the carriage outside, and within it, Bai Zhi was carefully selecting a candle wick.
In truth, her heart had a strange feeling within it.
San Shaoye seemed to be different from the past.
He was a smart and clever boy, full of innocence, but now, especially when he was silent, she did not dare to speak to him.
Somehow, he seemed to be radiating power and nobility, which was an aura he lacked in the past.
His eyes were also constantly darting about, showing a looming indifference and coldness that usually was present in adults.
Did San Furen’s death really cause such a drastic change in him? “Min De?” Li Weiyang sounded as she really was drunk; she tilted her head, like she was looking at a stranger, and called his name.
Her hands reached up and pinched his cheeks. “Ah!” “Smile, I like to see you smile!” She had regained her fierce demeanour. Looking at his red stained cheeks and his eyes like summer waters, Li Weiyang could not hold herself back from squeezing his cheeks repeatedly. “Sanjie, you are really drunk!” It was as if she had been swapped with someone else! Li Min De was speechless, and his face resembled a bun after all that pinching.Li Weiyang murmured: “Wine can make you forget your depression and drown your sorrows.
Min De, you should also have some.
You’re being so naggy at such a young age, imagine how horrible you’d be when you grow older!” She felt as if the whole world was shaking, and tried to open her eyes, only to see Li Min De as red faced as a tomato.
She released her hands and adjusted her body to find a more comfortable position to rest in. Seeing her sleeping face, Li Min De suddenly broke into a smile.
He lowered his voice: “This is good, so long as you are happy, anything goes.” Tonight, he felt that Li Weiyang’s feelings were in a terrible turmoil.
Although he did not know why, he felt that he would be willing do anything, just to earn a smile from her.  ————————————————-Translator: JaslynnEditor: Panisa (In Progress) Chapter 80 Part 2: Tit for Tat The next morning, Li Weiyang was invited to He Xiang Yuan by Lao Furen. At any point of time, nobody can have everything going smoothly for them.
Even though Li Weiyang had things under her control, there were also countless problems which were targeted at her.
Seeing Da Furen sitting upon the great hall despite her illness, Li Weiyang gave a respectful smile: “Muqin is here too, are you feeling better?” Da Furen gave a small smile: “I have taken Dai Fu’s medicine, but there has been no improvement.
Ah, my body has always been weak, so it is inevitable.”

 Li Weiyang found it strange that Da Furen would be willing to let people see her weak side, when she usually wanted to maintain her strong façade. In actual fact, Jiang Guo Gong Furen had invited Li Xiaoran over yesterday evening for small talk.
It was a perfectly normal thing for a mother-in-law to invite her son-in-law to catch up; she had intended to use her status to pressurize him into letting Li Changle return.
However, Li Xiaoran used state matters as an excuse to reject her invitation.
Guo Gong Furen could not do anything more; with her status and age, did they actually expect her to come personally to beg? This incident also allowed Da Furen to realise that Li Xiaoran was no longer the meek and low ranked officer 10 years ago; perhaps, he already had intentions against the Jiangs long ago, but he is only showing his true colors now. She had to think of another way; that is why, despite the fact that she could not walk without stumbling, she still had to grit her teeth and turn up. “There is so many things happening at home, and I’m feeling frustrated.
No matter how much medicine I take, it is not helping.”  Da Furen was direct, telling Lao Furen about her illness.
“I’m afraid I need a longer time to recuperate…” Upon hearing this, Er Furen immediately responded: “If Da Sao is unable to handle household matters, Di Mei is willing to share the burden with you…” Er Furen was trying to take over the control of the household.
Da Furen did not reveal any change in expression, just calmly said: “There is no need for that temporarily, as I have my able assistants to aid me.
I do require your help in serving and taking good care of Lao Furen though…” Er Furen’s face had an expression of dislike.
Forget the fact that she refused to hand over the power, she even tried to push her filial duties to Lao Furen to her; how sly of Da Furen. Lao Furen continued touching the prayer beads in her hands, pretending as if she did not hear anything. Da Furen thoughtfully asked: “How was yesterday’s lantern festival?” “Naturally, it was beautiful.
It was too bad that Muqin’s ill health did not allow Muqin to come along.” Li Weiyang’s smile was calm. Da Furen couldn’t help but sigh.
“Yes, during the past lantern festivals, I would bring you sisters to attend.
Your Dajie loves the lotus lanterns, and would not bear to let go of it.
We have our own craftsman at home to make fine trinkets, but she loves the stall at the Western Bridge instead, like such a small child…” She sneaked a glance at Lao Furen, who didn’t even bat an eye. Da Furen immediately felt very much alone.
She did not know since when her words had lost power at home, or perhaps, they were ignoring her on purpose. These few months, Li Weiyang was very prosperous in the Li Residence.
Da Furen could not escape just by hiding in the room; she constantly heard Xianzhu receiving many invitations to events, which enraged her.
Just over a short period of three months, she was so tired out that many strands of white appeared in her hair, making her appear older. Da Furen took out a sutra from her sleeves, flipping it open to show Lao Furen.
“That silly child heard that using one’s blood to write sutras could show sincerity, so she really pricked her finger to write a copy of Fa Hua Sutra for Lao Furen…” Lao Furen did not even take a single look.
She had woken early today, and she could not stop her eyelids from closing.
She interrupted: “What is your purpose in visiting me today?” Da Furen went pale, and gritted her teeth.
“Lao Furen, Changle has written a letter.
She has learnt her mistake and regrets what she has done.
She begs Lao Furen to forgive her and let her come back.
My health is not good, and I need someone by my side to take care of me.
Could you bear to see me frail with illness, with no one taking care of me, feeding me medicine?” She wiped away her tears as she spoke. Li Weiyang couldn’t help but smile at Da Furen’s performance.
There were at least twenty or thirty maidservants in Fu Rui Court, how could it be possible that there is no one to serve Da Furen? She just wanted to borrow the chance to bring Li Changle back. Lao Furen frowned.
“She was supposed to go there and reflect.
It has just been three months, and she can’t take it anymore?” Da Furen did not give up.
“She has been doted on and spoilt since young, so she can’t take any hardship.
Lao Furen, you’re compassionate, please let her come back, I can have one more person by my side.” Er Furen coldly replied: “Da Sao, what are you saying, don’t you have more than one daughter? San Xiaojie Si Xiaojie Wu Xiaojie, aren’t they able to take care of you too? You said it yourself that you would treat them as your own.
Since you want to find someone to take care of you, why didn’t you give them the chance?” Er Furen had always loved to put Da Furen in a spot, so it wasn’t unexpected that she would come up with this suggestion. Da Furen smiled reluctantly: “I did not want to make things hard on them.” Si Yiniang quickly replied: “No trouble at all, to be able to show filial piety for Da Furen is what they should do.” She eyed Li Weiyang as she spoke, “I don’t know about Xianzhu, however–” Of course Li Weiyang would not reject it; going to Da Furen’s house everyday would definitely aggravate her illness and cut her life by another ten years.
Moreover, this was not something she could push away, because it was her duty as a daughter towards a mother, even if she was another concubine’s daughter.
This request came quite suddenly though… A flash lit up in Da Furen’s eyes, and her mouth quirked as if she was going to reject; but finally, she asked: “What does Lao Furen think?” It was a reasonable request which Lao Furen would naturally agree to, so she nodded her head and waved as if swatting a fly.
“Fine, we’ll do it this way” On the way back to her courtyard, Li Weiyang was silent.
When back in her own rooms, she selected a book and sat on her rocking chair to read. Bai Zhi saw that she had things on her mind, but she did not dare to stray too far away, so she just stood by at the side, with an embroidery frame in hand. After a long time, Li Weiyang continued maintaining her silence, and the pages of her book had remained unflipped. 2 hours later, she suddenly put down the book.
“Bai Zhi,” There was a rare hesitation in her tone. “Why do you think Da Furen allowed me to enter her house and attend to her?” Li Weiyang seemed like she was talking to herself, and yet also seemed like she was speaking to Bai Zhi.
Her fingers involuntarily touched the pages, curling and uncurling them.
This hinted that her brain was quickly processing her thoughts.“I fear that Da Furen is unwilling, she doesn’t like to see Xiaojie.
That day after Xiaojie visited her, Nubi heard that she started throwing and destroying things after we left.” Bai Zhi quietly supplied.  Li Weiyang replied with an ‘En’, and continued her silence.
If Da Furen wanted to get rid of her, she need not have done so much.
If so, what was she planning? ————————————————-Translator: JaslynnEditor: Panisa (In Progress)

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