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Chapter 90: Praying Mantis stalks the cicada
19-5 represents the emperor, since in ancient times 9 represented honor (being the highest odd, or 'yang', number) while 5 signified mediation and harmony since it is in the middle amony the 'yang' numbers. When put together, 9 and 5 signify 'harmonic honor'.
2掌上明珠: pearl in the palm: similar meaning to “apple of someone’s eye”
3负荆请罪: bearing the rod and taking punishment: means to offer a humble apology
Afterward, he suddenly stood up, a sword against the neck of the person entering, Zhuo Er paled: “Your Highness…. your maidservant only forgot to take away the tea tray…”
She has just received Tuoba Zhen’s jade pendant, she was too ecstatic, that she forgot to remove the tray. If she returned, of course, there was no way for her to explain this to the house steward. Seeing that Tuoba Zhen had relaxed, Zhuo Er breathed a sigh of relief, Dianxia seemed to like her, therefore he wouldn’t do anything to her. However, in the next moment, with a sweep of Tuoba Zhen’s hand, her head had fallen off. Her expression still showed shock, making the scene extremely terrifying.
“Take her away,” Tuoba Zhen glanced at the bloody floor and felt only disgust.
A reckless woman, actually wanted to compare herself to Li Wei Yang. Li Wei Yang did not attract his attention merely because of her beauty, what he liked was her distinctive personality and cleverness; even for her domineering fierceness, there was still a distinct flavour to it. In comparison, Zhou Er just has the shape but without her mind nor her personality; she was just like a doll. Tuoba Zhen’s gaze landed on the face that had already lost its vitality. She resembled Li Wei Yang, his gaze, like the slow sharpening tip of a sword, gradually developed a sharp edge. Right now he has a strange hatred towards Li Wei Yang. What he hated her most, was that she dared to look at other men. He became more conscious of the importance of power. He secretly decided in his heart that when he ascended to the 9-51, even if he has to turn the world over, it must be to his satisfaction.
When Li Wei Yang saw Wei Guo Furen, she was sitting in a daze before Gao Min’s bed. Then when she turned around, she can see that her usual dignified, domineering, imposing manner has disappeared completely. Her cheekbones that appeared high seemed gaunt at this time and both cheeks also showed signs of slight sadness. That pair of eyes, that had always made Li Wei Yang feel uncomfortable with the arrogance in her eyes, were swollen from crying and the chaos in her pupil made it seem even larger. Unsure of whether it was due to too much energy being spent on her grief, her hair seemed to have grown more strands of white hair, and matched with her sullen face, it made her entire person seem even more dejected.
Li Wei Yang sighed.
This mother and daughter pair only had themselves to blame. She had already verified that it was the two of them who sowed discord in front of Concubine Zhang De, which stirred Concubine Zhang De into taking actions to get rid of her. If they did not use such despicable means to harm her, then they wouldn’t have fallen to this point.
Gao Min’s entire backbone had been broken, even if she is forced to survived, she could only live the rest of her life on a bed for this lifetime. A beautiful future had been ruined like this, for a proud and arrogant Gao Min, it was more unbearable than death.
Sun Yan Jun, who came with Li Wei Yang, pushed her slightly, indicating that she should stand behind her and then following Sun Yan Jun in, she spoke words of consolation: “Wei Guo Furen, I know that you are very sad over Miss Gao’s accident, but you must also cherish your own body!”
Wei Guo Furen was in a trance. Hearing her say this she wiped a tear; as if waking up from a dream, she murmured: “Poor Min Er.” Then suddenly she raised her head, staring fixedly at Li Wei Yang, she said angrily: “Why are you here!”
In her eyes, Li Wei Yang is the enemy who harmed her daughter, she couldn’t wait to pounce and tear her up, but seeing Zhao Yue with her cold expression, as she held her sword behind Li Wei Yang, Wei Guo Furen subconsciously stopped in her pace.
Li Wei Yang said lightly: “Aunt, restrain your grief.”
Hearing those words, Wei Guo Furen’s immediately showed anger and said bitterly: “Li Wei Yang, if it was not for you wanting to compete with Min Er, how could she has fallen to this point, all of this is because of you…”
Sun Yan Jun looked at Wei Guo Furen with sympathy, in her opinion, this incident really doesn’t have much to do with Li Wei Yang, if it wasn’t for Gao Min being overly aggressive, Li Wei Yang would not have competed with her, besides, a person getting injured is an accident, just as she was about to say something, Li Wei Yang said gently: “Miss Sun, I have a few words that I want to speak with Aunt alone, would you mind leaving us alone.”
Sun Yan Jun is a decent and understanding girl, she thought Li Wei Yang wanted to apologize to Wei Guo Furen, therefore she smiled and said: “Very well, I will go out first, later I will look for you.” Having witnessed the plentiful facades of officials’ daughters, and being born of military lineage, she greatly admires the frankness, intelligence and courage of Li Wei Yang, and is determined to befriend her.
Finishing, Sun Yan Jun left the tent.
Wei Guo Furen suddenly felt a moment of bleakness, her oldest son was dead, her younger son is a good-for-nothing, her daughter is left with only half a life, her husband blamed her for inciting her daughter into always seeking to prevail over others, perhaps at this moment, he even hates her. Her methods of treating the servants are mean even under normal circumstances, aside from her own older sister, there is no one in the family that she can speak to. In this not very cold night, facing Li Wei Yang whose face was like water, she suddenly felt a bone piercing chill. Because she truly felt that she has now become a loner.
“Are you here to laugh at me?” Seeing Li Wei Yang, Wei Guo Furen’s dismal mood felt like frost on snow.
“Aunt, why would I laugh at you? Biaojie (older female cousin) becoming like this, I am also sad for her.” Not only is Li Wei Yang not sad but she also felt that Gao Min had brought it upon herself, but now, she needed to continue: “I understand how you are feeling, but there is one thing that I must tell you, the incident that day was not an accident.”
Wei Guo Furen suddenly raised her head, her face changing drastically: “What did you say!”
Li Wei Yang sighed and said: “I originally did not want to mention this incident, because saying it would implicate many people, but if I don’t say it, I would feel uneasy in my heart.”
“You hid it and not mention it is because you cannot say it? Or did you feel that I am incapable, and cannot inquire about this incident?” Wei Guo Furen could feel something was off and stared fixedly at Li Wei Yang’s eyes, her gaze gradually sharpening.
Li Wei Yang with an hesitant look, opened her mouth to speak, but still hesitated for a moment: “I also know that this incident cannot be hidden from you… but if I tell this to you, I’m afraid that this will affect your relationship with Concubine Zhang De… since it caused this kind of consequences, even if I die, I cannot atone for that sin… but if I don’t tell you, I am also afraid that you will be kept in the dark forever…”
Hearing this, Wei Guo Furen’s face suddenly changed, her voice also trembling, grasping the armrest of the sandalwood chair as if she wanted to stand up, her sleeve gliding across the tabletop, viciously bringing down the teacups: “What did you say? Have something to do with Concubine Zhang De? What are you….trying to say?”
Li Wei Yang sighed and said: “Palace affairs are complicated, Concubine Zhang De seems kind and generous on the surface, but in reality she is a narrow-minded person! I heard that you have constantly said bad things about me before her, therefore I was afraid, I asked Seventh Prince to explain on my behalf, but Seventh Prince came back only to tell me, Concubine Zhang De felt that you are trying to sow discords into their mother and son relationship, and thus becoming angry with your actions. Aunt, you do know, Jiang Guo Gong Residence’s Er Jiujiu has an illegitimate daughter that has entered the Crown Prince’s residence to become a Ce Fei (side consort), Concubine Zhang De has easily connected other thoughts, she felt that there was collusion between Jiang Guo Gong Residence and Bo Chang Hou Residence, while you meant well, to her, it appeared you were trying to drive a wedge, therefore she was prepared to give us a lesson! That day… just happened to be Biaojie’s bad luck!”
“What did you say!” This remark was just like a thundershock that shook apart Wei Guo Furen’s soul. She wanted to staggered up, her body raising halfway before falling back down to the chair, her face paling even more, her eyes dulling, shaking nonstop all over, that look as if her soul had suddenly drained away.
These words were originally full of loopholes, but Li Wei Yang knew, saying these words right now, Wei Guo Furen would definitely believe it, and what more, she will trust it completely. She continued on: “Aunt can not believe me, but I hope that you will send someone to investigate that Zuo Yuan’s background, as the deputy commander of the Imperial Army for many years, outstanding martial arts and excellent archery, how could he miss a shot for no reason, as it happens that he shot in our direction, this is clearly someone using his hands to warn us!”
“No! This is not possible!” Wei Guo Furen did not believe Li Wei Yang.
Li Wei Yang smiled and said: “Aunt, no matter how we loathed each other behind closed doors, in the eyes of outsiders, Jiang Guo Residence, Bo Chang Residence, are all one family. Even though you have said a lot of bad things about me in front of Concubine Zhang De and it is not harmonious between us, but the way others see it, we are related by marriage after all, no? Concubine Zhang De would have feel that you have other intentions to betray me in order to gain her trust, wanting to warn you a bit, is there anything strange about that?” She paused, then glanced at the unconscious Gao Min and said: “What more, Gao Biaojie has always been getting close to Third Prince, other people feel that in the future, she will become the imperial consort of the Third Prince, if anything happened to her, naturally it is not a light blow to Third Prince, Third Prince is the Crowned Prince’s people… naturally there are a lot of complex relationships in the mist of this, alas, the bottom line is, Biaojie is just a scapegoat.”
Wei Guo Furen sat in her chair as if her soul was lost, her teeth biting her deathly pale lips tightly: “What are you telling me these!”
Li Wei Yang smiled, she was not afraid of Wei Guo Furen checking on this, because this was indeed done by Concubine Zhang De. Right now all she was doing was just telling this fact to Wei Guo Furen, “Because I am also a victim, that day I was walking the horse with Ninth Princess, then someone used a tamed eagle to scare the horses, I almost died under the horse’s hoof. The culprit behind this not only wanted to kill Biaojie, but also wanted to raise internal fighting amongst us, tell me Yimu, would my hate be any less than yours?”
“What raise internal fighting? I don’t understand!” Wei Guo Furen opened her eyes wide.
A layer of regret arose on Li Wei Yang’s face: “The reason why Biaojie raced her horse with me merely stemmed from a girl’s desire to excel over others, we do not have any deep-rooted hatred, but in the eyes of other, I have became the culprit who caused Biaojie to be injured. As a result, Uncle would not say it, but in his heart, there is already a grudge against Father, in the imperial court, our families have always been supporting each other, now if we have a fallout, our power will be weakened. If at this time, someone exploits the situation, it is not impossible for both families becoming opposing enemies, making it easier to take out the enemies one by one.”
“Ah…” Wei Guo Furen awakened as if from a dream, now her anger has gradually calmed down, she only sighed deeply, looking dejected as if her entire body is emptied of strength: “You should go back, go back and do not talk to anyone.”
Li Wei Yang smiled lightly and said: “Aunt, you should take a rest, I will leave first.”
Wei Guo Furen gritted her teeth, looking at her back, and spat heavily towards the ground, beside Wei Guo Furen, her confidante Liu Mama, said: “Furen, Xianzhu is trying to sow discord.”
Wei Guo Furen slowly leaned back against the chair, her gaze like dying embers, staring at the top of the tent, holding her hand in a fist forcefully, her nails piercing into flesh: “She is trying to sow discord, but what she said is a fact, at least in regards to the real person who harmed my daughter, she did not lied. That arrow is definitely arranged by Consort Wu Xian!”
There was no reason for Li Wei Yang to lie about this point, because if at that moment, it would be absolutely impossible for her to escape if she did not dodge quickly. What more, the scene at that time, both of the girls’ horses were racing neck to neck, regardless of whether the other party was trying to kill Li Wei Yang or Gao Min, both of them have entered into danger together! Wei Guo Furen only thought that Li Wei Yang was lucky but never thought that she was already prepared for this, after all, who in this world would risk their own life? Even more impossible to devise such terrifying trap! She resented Li Wei Yang, but loathed Concubine Zhang De even more, they originally wanted to borrow her hand to get rid of Li Wei Yang, instead were harmed by the killer sent by her!
Li Wei Yang came out of Wei Guo Furen’s tent, looked back and couldn’t help but smile slightly.
Zhao Yue felt it was weird: “Xiaojie, why did you do this?”
Li Wei Yang smiled and did not answer.
On the last day of hunting, the white wolf was captured by Seventh Prince, the Emperor was happy and held a banquet to celebrate.
This was originally a harmonious banquet, but chaos came out of the banquet. A palace maid was actually an assassin that snuck in, in attempt to assassinate the Emperor, however, the royal palace had already assigned experts to personally protect the Emperor and the important concubines. That palace maid had just pulled a knife from the tray and was immediately discovered by someone before she had the chance to take action and was captured on the spot. The Emperor ordered an interrogation, that palace maid slitted her own neck and died from suicide.
The Emperor was enraged and ordered someone to search the body. The result was that an imperial pass was discovered on the palace maid’s body. Upon checking the imperial pass, it actually came from Concubine Zhang De’s palace.
At that moment, everyone’s faces changed.
Concubine Zhang De had always been favoured by the Emperor, still standing to this day, but this time the Emperor was furious, taking the imperial pass and threw it hard: “Concubine Zhang De, you have done a good job!”
Concubine Zhang De’s face suddenly became pale, she has been in the palace for a long time, she was already used to these kind of matters, but she has never seen the Emperor being this furious before, that she fell straight to the ground from fright of this sudden mishap. She forgot her intelligence and quick wits and knowing how to explain herself, cried loudly: “Your concubine has been wronged! His Majesty, your concubine has been wronged!”
Li Wei Yang watched from afar, a trace of smile appeared on her face.
Concubine Zhang De’s face was full of tears and kept saying: “His Majesty’s great kindness is deep, how could your concubine plot against His Majesty?!”
The Emperor has experienced many changes in the palace, often falling prey to others’ machinations since childhood, that what he loathed and feared most were these underhand methods. Without thinking carefully in his fury, he shouted: “Take Concubine Zhang De away, to be dealt with.” Once the words came out, everyone was shocked.
“Imperial Father ---” Tuoba Yu quickly stepped out, then suddenly thought, no matter what, now is not the place or time for him to anger the Emperor. Even if he wanted to address the injustice for his Imperial Mother, he still has to wait until the Emperor’s thunderous fury disappeared, no matter what is said now, he would not listen!
“Concubine Zhang De has definitely been wronged!” In the midst of this discussion, suddenly a childish voice spoke.
The crowd was taken aback, all looking at Ninth Princess,
Originally Ninth Princess has deliberately went to sit with Li Wei Yang, now she rose from her seat and quickly stepped out, kneeled on the ground, bowed a couple of time and said: “Imperial Father must not decide the sins of Concubine Zhang De based on a single imperial pass.”
Concubine Rou suddenly stood up: “His Majesty, Ninth Princess is still a child, she does not understand anything!”
Ninth Princess said courageously: “Imperial Father, there are a lot of people here, how hard is it to get an imperial pass? If this imperial pass is really from Concubine Zhang De’s palace, why would she let that person wear it, is she not afraid that other people would know? This is a set up!”
Everyone lowered their head, of course they could see that this is a set up, however in front of the Emperor’s fury, no one dare to say a word of defense for Concubine Zhang De.
The Emperor looked at his favourite little daughter in surprise, she was not particularly close to Concubine Zhang De, but today she suddenly came out to speak up for Concubine Zhang De. Thinking about it, the relationship between Concubine Rou and Concubine Zhang De was not on good terms, but Ninth Princess did not avoid it, in the end she is still a child--- it is because she is a child, therefore she dared to say what others do not dare to, even the fact that the Emperor did not think of in his moments of fury, she actually dared to say it in public.
Thinking of it carefully, the evidence were here; such clever and wise Emperor, because Concubine Zhang De was respected and dear to him, therefore he was unable to take such blow, especially when angered. If he wronged Concubine Zhang De due to such simple set up, even if he made up for it in the future, a rift will still remain, especially between husband and wife, between father and son. Having thought over this, he looked at the earnest gaze of Seventh Prince who is watching Concubine Zhang De silently, his face calming down.
Concubine Wu Xian who has been silent this whole time suddenly opened her mouth: “Yes, His Majesty, this is someone who is jealous that Concubine Zhang De has received His Majesty’s favor, therefore they deliberately framed her, you must investigate carefully, to ensure you did not wrong Concubine Zhang De.”
Concubine Zhang De choked with tears, she threw herself in front of the emperor crying, both hands seizing the bottom of his gown and begged bitterly: “His Majesty, your concubine would never dare to do anything that would harm His Majesty!”
The emperor has already understood everything, but feeling that he is at an awkward place, he went with Concubine Wu Xian’s words to get out of the awkward situation: “You should rise, zhen (emperor addressing himself in first person) knows. You should return and rest, zhen will give you justice.” Then, turning to face the crowd: “The banquet cannot continue on, everyone should disperse.”
Seventh Prince, Tuoba Zhen was really disappointed, he really hoped for Concubine Zhang De's downfall, although it seemed like this poorly thought out plan couldn't shake the concubine’s position, but as long as a seed of suspicion was planted in the emperor’s heart and and roots had formed, at a certain point of time, it will play a significant role, only for it to be destroyed like this today. He glanced at Ninth Princess grudgingly, only to find that she is chatting happily to Li Wei Yang.
It was Li Wei Yang who taught Ninth Princess to say those words! Tuoba Zhen was the first one to understand! His fingers, unconsciously tightened even more, almost drawing out blood.