Han Yuqi looked in disbelief between Official Ouyang and his mother Lady Xu, completely bewildered. Were these two people possessed? Acting so polite towards Han Yunxi...
"Mother..." As soon as he opened his mouth, Lady Xu rose and turned severe and began to curse at him.
"You thing that can't tell good from bad! Your dog eyes can't see Mt. Tai! Hurry up and apologize to esteemed wangfei! Even if she's your older sister, you can't afford to joke like this!"
As she lectured, she kept shooting him meaningful glances. Unfortunately, Han Yuqi was extremely slow-witted and didn't get the hint. He gave his mother a doubtful look without budging a muscle. Lady Xu was both anxious and angry until she stalked over and grabbed him by the ear.
"Unfilial son, kneel for me! Of all the jokes to make, you had to make this one with your sister! Don't you know it's a capital offence to threaten the esteemed wangfei? If you want to die so much, then no one will stop you!"
"Ah...it hurts, let go...let go!"
Han Yuqi moaned in pain and bent down, while Lady Xu took the chance to whisper by his ear. "Brat, you think I want to humor her? The rumors are true! Han Yunxi really saved the crown prince, your own grandfather said so!"
What, the rumors were real?
Han Yunxi had really cured the crown prince? So now she was a person who had rendered extraordinary service? Han Yuqi felt as if a heavy weight had rammed against his head, he was so shocked. His legs collapsed beneath him as he kneeled on the ground.
"Esteemed wangfei, this brat's been shooting his mouth off since he was a child. You should know he's still young, so just have mercy on him this once. It's all my fault for teaching him wrong, I'll apologize to you!" Lady Xu was very sincere even as she hid her dissatisfaction behind her eyes. In the past, she'd always been insufferably arrogant towards Han Yunxi and called her out multiple times.
At this, Official Ouyang chimed in from the side. "Esteemed wangfei, eldest young master is...hehe, eldest young master really was outrageous, but this is still Han Family matters. If we make a fuss all the way to the justice courts, it won't be good for your face either. Won't outsiders treat it as a joke?"
Han Yunxi smiled coldly in her heart. Of course she knew the relationship between Official Ouyang and the Civil Office's magistrate. Such creditable words he'd spoken just then! She ignored both speakers and looked disdainfully down at Han Yuqi, half joking. "Eldest young master, who were you calling a slutty woman?" Her words terrified Lady Xu and Official Ouyang. Han Yuqi even quaked with fear, his legs turning into jelly so that it was hard to even kneel.
"Han...nonono, esteemed wangfei, this commoner...this commoner was joking, don't take it in earnest, esteemed wangfei! This commoner has a despicable mouth, so I'll apologize! This commoner was wrong! Wrong!"
Han Yuqi was so frightened that he could only speak incoherently. If Han Yunxi had become the crown prince's lifesaver, then she wasn't just a simple wangfei anymore! At the very least, the imperial family recognized her, which meant a commoner's family like the Han would be committing a grave crime if they disrespected her! Thinking back on his behavior, Han Yuqi felt regret enough to turn his intestines green.
He suddenly slapped himself in the face. "Esteemed wangfei, this commoner's mouth is base, this commoner will punish himself!" Seeing this, even Lady Xu was astonished enough to cover her mouth. Her precious son!
But Han Yunxi looked on coldly without batting an eyelid, having no reaction whatsoever. Han Yuqi could only endure and slap himself again. Of course, his movements weren't very strong since he was afraid of pain. But by the second slap, Han Yunxi still wasn't moved, and looked at him expressionlessly.
What to do?
Did he have to keep slapping himself? No, he was afraid that it'd hurt!
The helpless Han Yuqi could only send a pleading glance towards his mother, who was already distressed over his son's two slaps. She was angry but dared not show it, and hastened to plead, "Esteemed wangfei, he's still your little brother. He unintentionally went overboard but didn't really mean to disrespect you. He won't dare after he's been taught a lesson."
At this, Han Yunxi finally opened her mouth. "Afraid of a little pain?"
"It hurts, his face is all swollen. He'll remember this lesson for the rest of his life," Lady Xu said hastily.
"Is that so..."
Han Yunxi bent over and calmly raised Han Yuqi's chin. Han Yuqi was incomparably nervous and didn't dare to even fidget. Han Yunxi lifted his face and looked left and right. The skin was clear and white, even finer than a woman's. There were no marks on it anywhere. If he thought this counted as pain, then what about the whip scars she'd gotten on her wrists as a child? What about the bloody lashes and bruises left on Han Yunyi's back?
Anger flitted past Han Yunxi's eyes as she coldly proclaimed, "You're not the ones to say whether or not his face is swollen!"
She shoved Han Yuqi's chin aside and order, "Little Chen Xiang, slap him!"
"No!" Lady Xu cried in alarm, voice suddenly turning fierce. "Yunxi, he's your little brother by the same father! You can't be so cruel!"
Han Yunxi laughed coldly. "The one inside the house is his little brother from the same father, too. How could he act so cruelly in turn?"
Of course Lady Xu knew the things her son had done. She was speechless for a while, before changing the topic. "Yunxi, this brat doesn't know anything. It couldn't be that you, too..."
Before she finished, Han Yunxi gave another cold laugh. "What, Second Madame's blaming Yunxi for not knowing anything?"
Lady Xu gave a start before she realized Han Yunxi was referring to herself. Yes, she wasn't an official wife, but Han Congan had married her with all the rites of one. Her palanquin had eight bearers to carry her inside, and everyone called her Lady Xu after her marriage. Today was the first time she heard the words, 'Second Madame!'
These words marked her as a concubine!
Han Yunxi was humiliating her!
Lady Xu's hands clawed inside her sleeves. What a Han Yunxi! She'd tried to persuade her nicely, but what else did she want to do?! If not for the fact that Yuqi's fate was in Han Yunxi's hands, she wouldn't bother being so meek! Lady Xu took a deep breath and angrily endured Han Yunxi's words, making herself calm down. A wise man didn't fight when the odds were against him. She'd endure.
"No, no, how could that be what I meant? Yunxi, you're the big sister. You've always been more obedient than him since childhood."
Han Yunxi laughed. "Second Madame still means to say that I'm being disobedient right now?" Lady Xu was speechless again. She didn't even know what to say as her elbow knocked against Official Ouyang.
"Esteemed wangfei..." Official Ouyang was about to plead, when Han Yunxi raised a hand to stop him.
"Official Ouyang, you said just then that offending a superior was 50 beatings. You weren't lying to this wangfei, were you?"
Shocked, Official Ouyang saw her seriousness and feared that he'd be blamed. He quickly shook her head. "I wouldn't dare, wouldn't dare. It really is 50 beatings."
"Then when Han Yuqi cursed wangfei as a slutty woman, this should count as offending one's superiors, right?" Han Yunxi asked again.
Official Ouyang could only nod his head. "It does count."
"Since it does and he did it twice, shouldn't he be caned 100 times?" Han Yunxi said severely.
Han Yuqi felt paralyzed by the words, his energy leaving his body as his mind turned blank. Lady Xu was so terrified that her face turned ghastly pale, eyes looking towards Official Ouyang with a warning! But so what if she warned him? Official Ouyang didn't dare displease Han Yunxi and refused to meet Lady Xu's eyes.
"Official Ouyang, take the man outside and carry out the punishment!" Han Yunxi didn't give them time to catch their breaths. 100 beatings could kill a person. Compared to a caning, slapping was nothing. They only had two choices: to slap, or to accept 100 beatings.
"Slap him!" With no choice, Lady Xu abruptly rose to her feet and spoke in a rush. "Esteemed wangfei, this brat should be slapped! Soundly slapped!"
Before Han Yunxi could insist on the caning, she went forward and grabbed little Chen Xiang's hands. "Girl, you go slap! Slap him!"
Chen Xiang abhorred this mother and son pair and immediately wrested her hands free. Slowly and calmly, she spoke. "As a girl, I have small hands, while the eldest young master has thick skin. There's no telling whether my hands will swell up before his face does."
Han Yunxi laughed in secret. So this little Chen Xiang had a poisonous tongue, too!
After hearing that Chen Xiang wouldn't slap him, Han Yuqi was scared witless and sat on the ground without moving. Lady Xu couldn't stop her eyes from looking gloomy as she mentally calculated in her head. Her eyes turned red with tears from the conclusion.
"Yunxi, just spare your little brother this once, I'm begging you..."
Beg? Pretending to be pitiful?
Han Yunxi's lips curled up into a sneer as she turned towards Helian Zuixiang, who was still unconscious. If begging actually worked, then this poor mother wouldn't have been threatened with a strip search. If begging actually worked, then she wouldn't have suffered so much from childhood to adulthood.
Han Yunxi viciously flung Lady Xu's hand aside and renounced all pity. "Official Ouyang, take the man away!"
"No! Don't!" Lady Xu shouted, blocking Official Ouyang. "I'll slap him! I'll slap him myself! Yunxi, I'll punish him with my own hands!"
Afraid that Han Yunxi wouldn't give her the chance, she gave a ferocious slap to Han Yuqi's cheek without the slightest hesitation. Pah! What a loud, bright sound.
This slap fully woke up Han Yuqi, who tried to cover his face. But Lady Xu said coldly, "Someone hold him."
The surrounding servants were completely stupefied, but hearing Lady Xu's words, two of them came to hold Han Yuqi in place.
As soon as Han Yuqi opened his mouth, Lady Xu slapped him again.
Such a loud sound made the surrounding servants shake with fright. Official Ouyang didn't dare to even look and turned his head aside. These two slaps made left red palm prints on Han Yuqi's face that slowly started to swell. Lady Xu's hands hurt, but her heart hurt even more. She treasured her son! She had never let herself, much less Han Congan, slap her son like this. But today she had to do it with her own hands. They were trembling from the impact, but her heart had long shattered into pieces. Han Yuqi only felt like his face was on fire, so pained that he didn't even dare to touch the skin.
This is enough, right?
"Esteemed wangfei, it's swollen. Completely swollen," Lady Xu said, choked with sobs. She wanted to walk up and slap Han Yunxi!
It really was swollen, but compared to the wounds on Han Yunyi's back, they paled in significance. Did Lady Xu really want to settle accounts by using two slaps to replace 100 beatings?
Han Yunxi glanced at her and spoke, "This wangfei already said, you're not the ones to say whether or not his face is swollen!"
Han Yuqi almost wanted to cry at these words. Lady Xu had started crying long beforehand, but she didn't dare argue. She could only grit her teeth and continue. Left slap, right slap, on and on it went.
Pah! PAH! PAH!
The sounds of impact were sharp and intense against the skin. Lady Xu's hands ached and Han Yuqi's face hurt as mother and son devolved into a crying mess. But Han Yunxi still didn't tell them to stop. In the end, none of the surrounding servants could look at them anymore as their hearts filled with dread. This eldest young Miss...no, to be exact, this Qin Wangfei wasn't someone to be pushed around. They'd all made an error in judgment!