Chapter 127: Confrontation, everyone gathers Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
"Esteemed wangfei, the old master would never do such a thing. How could that be possible? Ask around, which family head would allow a married off daughter to come home and take care of family affairs?" Lady Xu smiled coldly as she refuted Han Yunxi. The crowd began to comment amongst themselves as well.
Lady Xu looked to Grand Concubine Yi and asked earnestly, "Esteemed Imperial Concubine, do you believe this excuse?"
"Lady Xu, what's the meaning of this? You doubt this wangfei?" Han Yunxi asked angrily.
"Yes"! Lady Xu went ahead, risking everything. Things were already at this point so she had no other choice. Otherwise, not only would she fail to accomplish her goal, but Han Yunxi would recover her image. No matter what, she was going to get the key today and see the old master. Once he exposed the truth, Han Yunxi would be utterly discredited!
Lady Xu not only answered Han Yunxi directly, but repeated her own question. "Grand Concubine Yi, do you believe it?"
She was forcing Grand Concubine Yi to reply before the crowd. After all, the grand imperial concubine had a special status, so the effects of this question could raise a thousand waves. Grand Concubine Yi didn't like Lady Xu a bit, while Han Yunxi had just bolstered her up. But at a time like this, she still wanted to stand on Lady Xu's side.
If Han Yunxi really did meddle in the Han Family's affairs without reason for the sake of their properties, it wouldn't be an ordinary crime. It was even a good excuse for the Duke of Qin to divorce her. Grand Concubine Yi looked at Han Yunxi, then at Lady Xu, and pretended to hesitate. For a long time she didn't answer, but the crowd watched her quietly to wait. Grand Concubine Yi's hesitation spelled bad things for Han Yunxi and would only increase the suspicions against her.
Murong Wanru stood by Grand Concubine Yi's side as before, eternally delicate and fragile. She had a touching innocence about her as she held Grand Concubine Yi's arm and spoke under her voice. "Mufei, I think we should just end things here. Forget it, since it's the Han Family's affairs, have sister-in-law hand over the key and be done with it."
Though she kept her voice low, it was only by a slight margin. She had every intention of being overheard. It would have been better if she hadn't spoken. When she did, the suspicions around Han Yunxi grew. Just end it here? Didn't that mean Han Yunxi had a guilty conscience and was afraid of being found out?
Whispers broke out in the crowds. Han Yunxi took this all in and smiled coldly in her heart. Does this count as Murong Wanru stirring them into action?
Fine then, this wangfei will beat you at your own game today!
Before Grand Concubine Yi could speak, Han Yunxi spoke up herself. "Mufei, it doesn't matter even if you believe me. They've already raised a fuss at the doors. I was going to let them see my father, so let's go see him now! And call the other members of the Han Family too."
No one expected Han Yunxi to be so resolute, especially Lady Xu. When Han Yunxi had told her ten days, she'd stopped believing in her. She was sure that Han Yunxi was just lying to stall for time, especially since she didn't see her last night. Who knew that she dared to visit the justice courts today in front of so many witnesses?
Did she have methods to suppress anything that happened in those courts?
Lady Xu had requested her father multiple times to let the justice court officials bend the rules so she could sneak in ahead of time. Since the courts hadn't agreed, it was obvious that they feared Han Yunxi! Thinking up to here, Lady Xu couldn't underestimate her enemy. She hastened to say, "Esteemed Imperial Concubine, this commoner makes bold to request your presence there as well."
"What, you're worried that I'll do something to you?" Han Yunxi said disdainfully, a cold smile on her face.
Lady Xu wasn't polite at all when she retorted, "Qin Wangfei can even stop our Han Family from visiting the prisons. Is there anything you can't do at the justice courts?"
No matter how much influence Han Yunxi had with the courts, as long as she brought Grand Concubine Yi along, Lady Xu was sure the girl wouldn't be able to hide a thing!
"Lady Xu, you better show some manners to this wangfei!" Han Yunxi pretended to be angry.
Seeing this, Grand Concubine Yi assumed that she was lacking self-confidence, and nodded her head. "All right. In order to be fair, I'll come along with you all."
Shouts of 'good!' and 'all right!' rang out from the surrounding crowds.
"Esteemed Imperial Concubine, you have to give the Han Family a fair and impartial outcome! The Han Family can't fall to an outsider's hands!"
"Esteemed Imperial Concubine, I believe you'll do things justly and make Qin Wangfei explain herself!"
"Let's go, we'll wait by the entrance to the justice courts. The truth will reveal itself very soon. We can't treat good people unjustly or let the corrupt live without shame!"
These words came from different directions to incite the crowd. All of the speakers were hidden within the mass of people, obviously arranged there beforehand. Their grating words would make anyone flip out, but Han Yunxi didn't get mad. No one knew that she was even more expectant than Lady Xu for the results.
Grand Concubine Yi called for a carriage right then and there and went with Han Yunxi and Lady Xu to the justice courts' imperial prisons. With her making a personal appearance, the new justice court head, Official Ouyang, was quick to receive her with his men at the door. His heart grew perturbed when he found out that Grand Concubine Yi was here because of the Han Family's affairs. On the one side, there was the crown prince's lifesaver Qin Wangfei. On the other was his benefactor, High Official Xu's daughter. He had never imagined that Lady Xu would kick up such a row. This placed him in a difficult position between both parties.
Grand Concubine Yi was an esteemed and golden figure. Could she just casually stroll into the dirty depths of the imperial prisons? Official Ouyang brought them to the courtroom and ordered someone to bring Han Congan here. Grand Concubine Yi sat high up in the main seat of honor. On her left sat Official Ouyang, while Han Yunxi and Murong Wanru sat successively on her right. Only Lady Xu was left standing.
Before Han Congan was brought over, the rest of the Han Family showed up first. Eldest young master Han Yuqi, Third Madame Li with Second Young Miss Han Ruoxue, and Seventh Madame with Han Yunyi. They all paid their respects, but Grand Concubine Yi didn't allow them to sit, so everyone all stood to one side. Han Yuqi's butt injury had already healed, restoring him to the moronic image of rich man's idle son. He seemed to have a well thought out plan for today's events, because he retreated to one side to mumble in Lady Xu's ear, occasionally shooting Han Yunxi warning looks.
Han Yunxi was too lazy to face off against that bonehead, and rested her gaze on Seventh Madame and little Yi'er instead. This mother and son pair had obviously never seen such a big gathering before. Seventh Madame was especially timid as she stood in the very back, holding on tightly to little Yi'er as she huddled up like a little wife. Within the crowd, only Third Madame Li and her daughter were acting most appropriate to the occasion. They were neither haughty nor humble, overbearing nor servile, but quietly waited with their heads bowed. Han Yunxi snuck a peek at Third Madame Li and thought back to the woman called Qingyi, feeling that they had similar physiques. The more she looked, the more she believed that Madame Li was none other than that assassin woman.
Of course, her feelings didn't count as evidence. She could only wait for the examination results on that container of tea leaves before she took anyone into custody. Han Yunxi mused this over as her gaze shifted to Second Young Miss Han Ruoxue. The girl was already very suspicious, but the appearance of the tea leaves further convinced Han Yunxi that she was the poisoner. The Ten-Thousand Snake Poison should have been delivered from these women's hands to Mu Liuyue, then taken to the general's estate. But does Han Ruoxue know poisons? And martial arts? That assassin called Heisha didn't resemble Han Ruoxue in the least. Long Feiye hadn't shown himself despite all the hubbub outside the Duke of Qin's gates. Of course, Han Yunxi wouldn't rely on him to save her, but she was curious as to what he was doing! By now, Chu Xifeng should've reported the results of the tea leaves examination to Long Feiye, right? Once they confirmed there was poison, they could add that to Bilü's testimony to arrest people. This was the capital city. No matter how capable Qingyi was, she'd have difficulty escaping from Long Feiye's palm. Han Yunxi really wanted to uncover the truth and expose the culprits. She silently waited for Long Feiye to make his move!
Of course, now they were in the justice courts courtroom. Han Yunxi wouldn't startle the snake by hitting the grass towards Third Madame. There were three more days until the deadline of the bet, so she could focus wholeheartedly on resolving this matter first. There was some distance between the courtrooms and the prisons, so they had to wait a while. For everyone present, the time seemed to pass slowly in silence.
Suddenly, Han Yunxi spoke up. "Someone, get a seat for Han Family's Seventh Young Master."
All of the Han family members looked over at her words, while the retainer on the side awkwardly shot a glance towards Grand Concubine Yi and Official Ouyang. He wasn't sure whether he should fetch the seat. After all, Grand Concubine Yi had the highest status here and hadn't asked for any chairs. Now that Qin Wangfei was, it seemed inappropriate.
Seeing Grand Concubine Yi remain silent, Official Ouyang was put in a tight spot as well. He wasn't sure what to do either, so the retainer didn't move.
"Official Ouyang, you certainly are haughty. Even the wangfei can't move you to act?" Han Yunxi asked unhappily.
Official Ouyang looked towards Grand Concubine Yi again, but she still remained unmoved. Without a choice, Official Ouyang could only angrily rebuke the retainer. "Have you turned stupid? Didn't you hear esteemed wangfei's orders? Get a seat!"
It was hard to serve two authority figures present at the same time! Cold sweat drenched the retainer as he hastened to get little Yi'er a chair. Little Yi'er was secretly delighted, struggling out of his mother's hands to step forward and pay his respects very properly. "Thanks to Grand Concubine Yi, thanks to esteemed wangfei!"
At this, Grand Concubine Yi gave him a glance, not caring in one way or the other. She drank some tea and flipped through some of the courtroom scrolls with interest.
"You're excused, rise." Han Yunxi's voice turned gentle. Han Yunyi had done well without losing her any face.
Little Yi'er sat down with ease, the only one in the Han Family with a seat despite being its junior member. In a place like this, where seniority and rank took precedence, it was akin to a slap to their faces!
Han Yuqi immediately lowered her voice. "Mother, what does Han Yunxi mean by this? She's gone too far to bully us. Didn't you say that Grand Concubine Yi was on our side?"
Lady Xu was mad as well and kept shooting glances at Murong Wanru, who glared back before looking aside. If they kept exchanging glances, then they'd leave clues for everyone else. Murong Wanru was extremely displeased but had no way to reprimand Lady Xu. She could only go with her intentions.
"Mufei, how can we let a little child sit while his elders are standing? As I see it, everyone should sit, right?" Murong Wanru said.
Only now did Grand Concubine Yi lazily raised her head to look over. She simply swept her gaze across the Han Family without saying a word. Grand Concubine Yi seemed to have come to the justice courts to make sure the Han Family was treated fairly, but her real aim was Han Yunxi. She didn't place any importance on the Han Family itself or even look at its members when they came in.
 little wife () - xiao xifu, literally son's wife, daughter-in-law, but used to describe young wives of little standing/power within a family.