“Hostage prince, you better hurry and tell us the whereabouts of the Jade Guanyin,” Aunt Lian said.
“I don’t know,” Tantai Jin coldly replied.
Ye Zheyun was eating grapes. He added fuel to the fire and said, “Don’t refuse a toast only to be forced to drink a forfeit1敬酒不吃吃罚酒 (jìngjiǔ bù chī chī fájiǔ) – to hesitate to do something until forced to do even more. Grandmother, Aunt, shouldn’t he be punished heavily……?”
Tantai Jin looked at Ye Zheyun. His pitch-black pupils were like a deep and bottomless vortex. Ye Zheyun had a rare fear in his heart, and he awkwardly shut up, not elaborating any further.
When Aunt Lian saw the Old Madam’s gloomy face, she hastily said, “Someone, bring the hostage prince……”
“Hold on!” Su Su uttered.
“Third Miss, last time this concubine trusted you, thus this matter was delayed for so long. You won’t be trying to harbour the hostage prince again this time, right?” Aunt Lian said with displeasure. She felt extremely dissatisfied in her heart. Ye Xi Wu was the Old Madam’s darling, so naturally, the Old Madam wouldn’t blame her, but would point and scold at her2“her” here is referring to Aunt Lian instead.
“I definitely won’t harbour anyone.” Su Su said, smiling. “Aunt, what you said is right. People that make mistakes have to be heavily punished.”
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“Mbkavu pvasjlp… R osdela kq bl nyd pvyde kv,” pyke Fw Fw, ekpvalpple.
Gwdv Nkyd’p xswvb vokvnble. Mbkp jkde sq rlapsd cakdtp cye zwnj, xyucl bl okzz cl clvvla sqq elye. Xdzu vbkp Zl Dk Ew vbyv eslpd’v jdso vs cl xsal alpvaykdle oswze cakdt pwnb y vbkdt cynj.
“Mbkae Ykpp, usw xwpv cl fsjkdt. Ohlau qyxkzu byp vblka sod awzlp yde ekpnkrzkdl vbyv pbswze cl qszzsole.”
Fw Fw dseele bla blye wdelapvydekdtzu. “Fkdnl Gwdv Nkyd vbkdjp kv’p qkdl vss, eayt vbl Mbkae Jasvbla yoyu vbld.”
Ohlausdl vbyv oyp ralpldv oyp pbsnjle yv vbkp pvyvlxldv.
Gwdv Nkyd ypjle okvb pbsnj, “Ebyv eke usw pyu?” Zl Hbluwd kp bla psd!
Fw Fw lmrzykdle, “Mbl rlapsd obs vssj vbspl kvlxp kp Mbkae Jasvbla. Tl vssj vblx vs ryu sqq bkp tyxczkdt elcv. Gwdv Nkyd, kq kv vwadp swv vs cl Mbkae Jasvbla, usw osd’v cl byacswakdt bkx, aktbv?”
Zl Hbluwd’p lmralppksd bye talyvzu nbydtle, yde bl pvsse wr. “Zl Dk Ew, usw clvvla dsv vyzj dsdpldpl. Mbspl vbkdtp olal vyjld cu vbyv c*pvyae nbkze, kv byp dsvbkdt vs es okvb xl!”
“Well, this is simple. Xi Wu is also afraid of wrongly accusing Third Brother. How about Third Brother sit, and let grandmother ask someone to go to Ruyi Gambling House and inquire properly. Third Brother’s monthly allowance is only a few dozen taels of silver, it is very easy to find out the truth.”
The Old Madam’s expression looked extremely bad. She massaged the arch between her eyebrows and raised her hand. “Zhao Fu, send someone to go and ask.”
Aunt Lian saw Ye Zheyun’s pale complexion and instantly understood what was going on. Her calm composure had completely disappeared. She knelt down with a thump and walked on her knees towards the Old Madam. “Old Madam, the Third Young Master is in the prime of youth, he was just muddled for a moment, please be lenient on him and let him go.”
Ye Zheyun also knelt with a thump. “Grandmother, it was Personnel Minister Li’s son who brought me there, I won’t dare to do it again!”
The Old Madam stomped her walking stick. “Aunt Lian, what a good son you have raised!”
Aunt Lian fitfully sobbed and said, “Third Young Master will bring the Jade Guanyin back, and this concubine is willing to make up for the Second Miss’s dowry.”
Su Su blinked her eyes and said with a reminding tone, “Every family has its own rules and discipline that must be followed. But since the person who made the mistake was Third Brother, a lighter punishment should be given. Give him thirty strokes and this matter can be dismissed.”
Aunt Lian’s face turned green and she started to kowtow. “This must not be allowed. The Third Young Master’s body has been weak since his childhood. Thirty strokes will kill the Third Young Master.” Now she utterly regretted bringing up the thirty strokes.
Ye Zheyun’s legs had started to tremble too. “Grandmother, grandmother, I know I was wrong.”
Su Su started to twirl a grape. “Aunt Lian, didn’t you say that thirty strokes were fine? Why can Tantai Jin bear it but Third Brother can’t? What kind of logic is that?”
Aunt Lian sternly said with tears streaming down her face, “Third Miss, this concubine has no grudge against you, why are you doing this to the Third Young Master?”
“But who did Tantai Jin provoke then?” Su Su replied without any intention of backing down.
The Old Madam stared at Aunt Lian and said, “That’s enough!”
“Aunt Lian will stay in her courtyard to repent on her mistakes for two months. Zhao Fu, go and redeem the Jade Guanyin back. As for Ye Zheyun, this unfilial disgrace, go and kneel at the ancestral hall for two days! No one is allowed to bring him food!”
This punishment made Aunt Lian feel relieved. Although it was hard to endure kneeling in such freezing weather, in the end, her son would not suffer other kinds of pain.
The Old Madam still remembered that Ye Zheyun was her own grandson after all, and she could only ask Ye Zheyun to reflect on himself.
Su Su looked towards the Old Madam in shock. The Old Madam looked tired, and she asked someone to help her leave. She couldn’t believe that it ended just…… like this?
If it was Tantai Jin, he would have lost half his life today. When it was Ye Zheyun, he was only punished to kneel for two days.
Her beliefs seemed to be on the verge of collapse. Dad had clearly said that although there were many injustices in the world, as long as we were willing to defend them, there would always be a good outcome.
Only when Su Su arrived in the mortal world did she realise that people were born with different lives. It was already unfair since birth.
She clenched her fist and looked towards Tantai Jin. She didn’t expect to see the young man so calm, and his lips were slightly curved with ridicule. It was as if he had expected this outcome and it was a usual occurrence.
He knew he was born different from others.
At midnight, Ye Zheyun stayed at the ancestral hall alone.
He laid under the quilt that Aunt Lian had asked the servant to secretly bring to him. He was tossing and turning, having trouble falling asleep. It’s so cold! How can I sleep!
Before he took the Jade Guanyin, Ye Zheyun had thought of pushing the blame to Tantai Jin. It was all Ye Xi Wu’s fault for interfering out of nowhere, otherwise, how could he suffer like this? He felt hatred in his heart, but it was followed by a mocking thought: in the end, she still couldn’t do anything to me.
Suddenly, the wind and snow stopped. The whistling gale instantly turned quiet.
Ye Zheyun did not notice at first until a black crow flew in through the window frame. The crow was staring at him with eerie red eyes.
Ye Zheyun was disturbed by its stare and threw an apple at it, “Get lost!”
The crow then flew away.
That was strange. Why would there be a red-eyed crow in such a winter? It really gave people goosebumps!
Soon after that, the window was abruptly slammed open.
A flock of red-eyed crows flew in and began to peck at Ye Zheyun’s flesh as if they had gone mad.
Ye Zheyun miserably shrieked and crawled towards the door. “Help! Help! Dad……”
He staggered along the way, covered in blood. He ran out of the ancestral hall and fell in the corridor.
A pair of man’s boots appeared in his line of sight. Ye Zheyun shouted in terror, “Help, quickly chase these monsters away……”
“Hah, how pitiful,” the person who came said with a sigh and soft pitying tone.
When the blood-covered Third Young Master fainted, only the young man’s pale lips were exposed against the light and shadow.
The rims of his eyes were red with sympathy. Then his eyes curled upwards and he was unable to suppress his laughter as if he had seen an extremely pleasant scene.
The red-eyed crows were still outdoing one another at pecking Ye Zheyun’s flesh. Tantai Jin sensed something was off, so he turned around. He then saw a girl in a pink cloak.
The girl was holding a lamp, and she stood in the wind and snow, looking at him with pursed lips.
He retracted the smile on his face, his dark pupils turning cold and dark.
The crows scattered in all directions.
The author has something to say:
Su Su: ?
Su Su: D…dang….!
Edited by: Gaze