Chapter 35: Meting punishment, the fox exploits the tiger's might Original and most updated translations are from volare.
Having her shortcomings exposed before the crowd left Mu Liuyue at a loss.
"You...I was worried about big brother's safety. In that situation, who knows if you had good intentions...a woman like you shouldn't hold onto small grudges!"
"Contrary girl, why haven't you shut your mouth yet!"
A fierce 'pah!' stuffed back the rest of Mu Liuyue's words.
"Ah...father! You hit me!" A cut appeared on her arm where a whip had fell, the exposed flesh revealing a much deep wound than Han Yunxi's.
General Mu's rage reached to the skies. "That's right, you're the one I hit! So young and already so vicious! The Qin Wangfei came with sincere intentions to help, but your guesses and presumptions blocked her at every turn! You almost lost your brother's life, shouldn't I hit a such an obstinate girl?"
So speaking, he lashed out with the whip again, adding another bloody welt to Mu Liuyue's skin. The terrified girl covered her head with her hands as she wept bitter tears.
"Don't hit me! Father...I know my wrongs! Sob, sob...I won't dare do it again! I won't dare!"
General Mu threw his whip aside and went to kneel at Han Yunxi's feet. "Esteemed wangfei, this old official thanks you for saving my son!" His head banged heavily against the ground as he kowtowed. "It was I who placed the blame on you, a crime that deserves punishment! I ask the Duke of Qin and Qin Wangfei to punish me accordingly."
This coarse old fellow was barbarous and simple, but had an open mind. He admitted his mistakes instead of offering a slew of excuses like the North Court Official and Mu Liuyue. But that didn't clear his guilt when he was the main reason for all this mess! Han Yunxi wasn't so compassionate.
Seeing that Long Feiye still didn't move to speak, Han Yunxi dared to speak in his place. "General Mu, you've gathered quite a few years beneath your belt. You've eaten more salt than my younger generation has eaten rice, so why can't you see clearly the difference between right and wrong?"
This 'difference between right and wrong' was a clear jab towards Princess Changping and Mu Liuyue. The angry princess clenched her fists and wanted to argue, but couldn't without Han Yunxi mentioning any names.
General Mu only nodded. "It was I who was muddle-headed, muddle-headed!"
"In the future, you have to keep your eyes clear when observing people and situations. You're a person with high morals and strong standing, so this wangfei won't punish you. I'd just like you to remember that I'm not useless trash."
At these words, Long Feiye's eyes grew dark.
This woman was intelligent enough. General Mu was a different case than the North Court Official. He was the commander of the imperial army! Not only that, he'd neither reported Han Yunxi to the courts or locked her up. For her to rebuke him to this point was already quite good. How could they really penalize him? In this way, Han Yunxi had saved a lot of face for the general.
The Mu Family would need to owe her a favor for this.
"Yes! This old official shall obey." Appreciation flashed past General Mu's eyes as he readily agreed.
After that, Han Yunxi turned her gaze to Princess Changping. From the start, all the torments and persecution she'd suffered came from the hands of this crafty princess. If she didn't teach her a lesson, she wouldn't be able to appease the indignation in her heart. But disciplining a princess wasn't something an imperial aunt like her could do. She glanced at Long Feiye and mused, This Giant Ice Cube, I wonder if he'll say some words on my behalf.
Princess Changping also stole a glance at Long Feiye. Seeing that his expression looked rather unpleasant, her heart grew turned flustered as she went over to pay obeisance. "Imperial Uncle Qin, Changping was worried about Qingwu gege. That's why I lost my head, listened to slander, and caused the North Court Official to make trouble. Just forgive me this time, okay?"
"The one who suffered was your imperial aunt, not me," Long Feiye said coldly.
Such words were beyond Han Yunxi's expectations. This fellow had come, that was true, but rejected any involvement in the matters concerned. Who could tell what he was thinking with such equivocal actions? Giant Ice Cube had rescued her to save face for the Duke of Qin's household and for the sake of his antidote. Of this, Han Yunxi was very clear.
Princess Changping couldn't figure him out either, but she didn't believe that Imperial Uncle Qin came for Han Yunxi's sake. It must be to preserve the dignity of the Duke of Qin's household. Before him, she didn't dare to act out. Even if she nursed a thousand grievances, in the end she still bowed her head.
"Imperial aunt, Changping wronged you..."
Her apology sounded like a mosquito talking. She was too dissatisfied with the course of events, so much that her hands had turned to fists inside her sleeves and left nail marks against her skin. Today she had been thoroughly disgraced. Glancing towards Mu Qingwu, she only saw Qingwu gege giving her a disgusted look. Princess Changping was about to go mad from rage. Deep down in her heart, she bore a grudge. Han Yunxi, everything was because of you, you abominable woman. You were lucky this time, but that won't be the case next time!
At this point, Mu Qingwu held onto his injury as he kneeled down. "Many thanks to Your Highness the Duke of Qin and Qin Wangfei for saving my life!"
Han Yunxi hastily reached out a hand. "Young general, your wound isn't healed yet. Hurry and rise, if the cut opens again, you'll have to lie down for eight to ten more days!"
Mu Qingwu didn't dare have Han Yunxi support him, but hastily avoided her. In actuality, he really wished he had more time to talk with this woman before they opened the door. When he saw her walk alone into the Duke of Qin's gates that day, he knew that she was someone different! However, his injury was too severe. As soon as he dodged, his vision turned black as he staggered and fell towards Han Yunxi.
"Qingwu gege!" Princess Changping cried, dashing over to pull Mu Qingwu to her side. He was already faint and soon lost consciousness. Princess Changping looked at Han Yunxi with a face full of anger. "Han Yunxi...why did Qingwu gege faint again, did you do anything to him?"
Han Yunxi ignored her to wave General Mu over for support so he could help Mu Qingwu back onto his bed. She then checked his pulse before speaking.
"After being unconscious for so many days, his body doesn't have enough energy. Let him rest and give him some millet congee when he wakes. He can only start taking tonics after three days, but take things step by step and don't overdo things."
General Mu nodded. "Many thanks to Qin Wangfei. The Mu Household won't forget this debt of gratitude for saving a life."
Princess Changping's temper flared up upon witnessing this scene. "General Mu, why do you always listen to this woman? Qingwu gege was perfectly fine, but now he's fainted again! There must be a problem!"
General Mu felt his heart raging at her words. He wished he could lash Princess Changping just like he did with his daughter, but she was a princess and beyond his authority. In the end, all he could do was endure, but he'd already come to a decision. The headstrong Princess Changping was crafty and unruly. With her here, there'd be no good days in the house. No matter what, he'd definitely forbid her from marrying into his family! He took a deep breath to calm himself down before speaking coldly.
"Your highness, for the time being Qingwu's out of danger. I ask that you go back now."
Princess Changping immediately shook her head. "No, I want to watch over him. If he doesn't wake up, I won't leave, I want to take care of him!"
"Your highness, you are the golden branch and jade leaf. One word from you is enough to claim our Qingwu's life. He couldn't bear the weight of your care." General Mu was the type to pour out everything on his mind. Even if he couldn't hit the princess, he could at least say a few words.
Princess Changping was no fool and heard the sneer behind his sentences. She smoothed out her lip, feeling like she was about to cry. "Is General Mu blaming me? It's not like I did it on purpose!"
"The princess has misunderstood, this old official doesn't dare. I just feel that men and women should not touch hands when giving or receiving things. If the princess stays, she'll encourage people to gossip, so I ask again that you leave," General Mu said coldly.
On one side, Han Yunxi was about to laugh out loud. Even she could tell that Princess Changping adored Mu Qingwu. With her status, the wedding might have be a 90 percent certainty, but after this mess it'd be strange if General Mu could even stand her. If the general didn't agree, even the emperor and empress dowager would be hard-pressed to force him. It looked like Changping's aspirations to marry into the Mu family would simply remain delusions.
Still, she was suffering from the results of her own actions, so Han Yunxi wouldn't pity her.
Princess Changping knew that General Mu hadn't approved of her marriage goals, but he'd never talked like this to her before. She wanted to speak some more, but seeing General Mu's icy expression made her sick at heart. Turning around, she spotted Han Yunxi looking at her with a smile and felt even more infuriated. "What are you smiling for? You'll have something to cry about sooner or later!"
After that bout of shouting, Princess Changping stomped her foot and turned to leave in a flash of tears. Han Yunxi didn't care in the slightest, but gave a cheerful grin at her retreating form.
Princess Changping, I'd like to see how long you'll stay stubborn. I think the poison from the prisons that day should show itself very soon. That ringworm is a modern-day toxin, so none of these ancient doctors will be able to cure you!
We'll see who's crying then!
Han Yunxi didn't say much, but left a few packets of medicine and detailed instructions for General Mu to change the bandages to avoid complications. The general made sure to note down every single detail. At the door, Long Feiye didn't bat an eyelid as he watched everything, but finally spoke after all was done. As before, there was no trace of warmth in his tone.
"Han Yunxi, isn't it about time for you to go back?"
Thanks to all the excitement from before, she'd left this respectable deity hanging by the door.
"Un, I'll go back right away," she eagerly ran out with a smile, sensing that this fellow seemed somehow unhappy. True enough, she'd ended up in prison within a few days of their marriage so as a husband he probably had nothing to be happy about. General Mu and his men hurried out to send them off, but Long Feiye just turned and left without a word.
That was his personality: a frozen mountain wrapped in a riddle, feared by all even as he stirred their curiosity.
Han Yunxi obediently followed behind him as she recalled her warning to Princess Changping a few days before. Thinking of it now, it was rather funny that things had happened exactly as she said. This guy Long Feiye had really showed up to take her home. His legs were long and he kept a quick pace, forcing Han Yunxi to run to catch up. When they finally left the gates of the residence, she remembered something.
Gu Beiyue was still locked up in the justice court jailhouse. He was secretly imprisoned by the North Court Official so very little people knew. They wouldn't subject him to torture, right? Seeing Long Feiye climb onto the carriage, Han Yunxi nervously asked, "Your highness, I...I forgot something, can you wait for me?"
As soon as the words left her mouth, Han Yunxi regretted them. Long Feiye, this so-called immortal, why would he wait for her? So when she saw him opening his mouth, she hurriedly added, "Your highness, how about you go back first? I'll come very soon."
As it turned out, Long Feiye didn't even spare her a glance before lowering the curtains to his carriage. His voice intoned, "I'll hold you responsible if I don't see you in the Hibiscus Courtyard in an hour!"
He was so indifferent that he didn't even bother to ask her for details, but told the driver to leave as soon as he was finished. Han Yunxi was a little shocked. So cold! She shivered slightly before turning back to discuss Gu Beiyue's life and death waiver with General Mu, then ask him to hurry to the prisons and release the doctor.
 the fox exploits the tiger's might () - hujiahuwei, to use powerful connections to intimidate people
 golden branch and jade leaf () - jinzhiyuye, description for people of imperial lineage, royalty.
 men and women should not touch hands when giving or receiving things () - nannüshoushoubuqin, a quote from Mencius that discourages familiar relations between a man and a woman.