Chapter 126: Argument, who wins the counter? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
It was perfectly normal for Murong Wanru to create difficulties for Han Yunxi. As for Mu Liuyue, Lady Xu had heard from Han Ruoxue that she had some sort of bet with Han Yunxi. But she didn’t know the details. With these noble ladies of high status protecting her, Lady Xu was free to make a big fuss.
She was still the daughter of a rich and influential family, so despite creating such a ruckus, she still bowed politely to Grand Concubine Yi and the rest when they emerged. “This commoner Lady Xu of the Han household greets Grand Concubine Yi and Qin Wangfei.”
Grand Concubine Yi was ready to kick this shrew aside, but she suppressed her anger to maintain her self-possession. She gave a disdainful look from her lofty position and asked, “Lady Xu, do you know the punishment for inciting a mob before the Duke of Qin’s estate?”
At this, Lady Xu immediately sank to her knees, the sound loud enough to create a thump in the silence. “I’ve been treated unjustly, ah! Grand Concubine Yi, this commoner had no other way to appeal for redress! I was too impatient to wait, so I came to these gates to plead for help. This commoner didn’t do it on purpose!”
Lady Xu spoke loudly, her voice causing all the rest of the citizens to kneel as well and plead together.
Plead for help?
This group of people were obviously viciously slandering and vilifying them to stir up the crowd. Was this called ‘pleading for help?’
“Lady Xu, just then, you were clearly…” Han Yunxi was about to retort when Grand Concubine Yi cut her off.
“What are you pleading for, why did you have to come to our front doors to do it?”
At Grand Concubine Yi’s words, the surrounding people grew astonished as they muttered amongst themselves. Could it be that Grand Concubine Yi has no idea why Lady Xu came? In that case, they’d all misunderstood that Grand Concubine Yi was competing for family properties. Looks like this was only Han Yunxi’s doing.
At the same time, Murong Wanru’s eyes flashed with a cold satisfaction. She opened her mouth to speak, not with the arrogant air of an aristocratic young Miss, but the amiable, approachable tone of a genial-looking person. “Lady Xu, you’re not an unreasonable person. There must be an important reason for you to kick up a row here. Since you’re here now, you should say it. My mufei will definitely act as a judge for you.”
Hearing Murong Wanru’s words further convinced the crowd that Grand Concubine Yi wasn’t the master behind the scenes controlling Han Yunxi. Murong Wanru also cleared all suspicion from herself. It seemed like everything was Han Yunxi’s mistake, while Grand Concubine Yi and Murong Wanru were completely ignorant of the matter.
When Murong Wanru was speaking, she’d shoot looks into the crowd. There was a sudden shout. “Grand Concubine Yi, Lady Xu came for the sake of the Han Family properties. The matter must be handled impartially!”
“Grand Concubine Yi, we’ve long heard that you’re just and fair-minded, earning much praise from the previous emperor. Today you must back up Lady Xu!”
Grand Concubine Yi hadn’t kicked Lady Xu aside when she came outside, but held her anger in check to ask her what was the matter. This was exactly the result she wanted! The Han Family’s affairs weren’t as important as her reputation and innocence. No matter what, she had to absolve herself of suspicion first. Murong Wanru’s words, added to the outbursts from the crowd, immediately elevated Grand Concubine Yi’s standing in their eyes. Her temper towards Lady Xu had finally started to settle as well.
After winning the support of the people, her next step was to naturally take care of things in a “fair” manner.
“Han Family properties? What’s going on?” she asked while knowing the answer.
Lady Xu hastened to report. “Esteemed Imperial Concubine, our Han house has a storehouse key. Whoever holds the key is the head of house and has the authority to oversee all the family properties, including the Han’s most precious codex of medicine. My family’s old master had the misfortune of being imprisoned. According to tradition, the key should’ve been handed over to the young master so he could be head. Since it was still with the old master, this commoner and her sisters tried multiple times to see him and discuss things, but were denied each time. The justice courts said there was someone up top preventing us from visiting.”
Murong Wanru interrupted her with a face full of indignation. “Why is that? Even if it’s lifelong imprisonment, the prisoner can still have visits once or twice a year! Who’s the person on top bending the rules and abusing authority?”
Murong Wanru’s words once again absolved suspicions from Grand Concubine Yi, who struck while the iron was hot to ask, “Speak, who is it?”
Lady Xu hung her head, purposely hesitating with her words. “This commoner doesn’t know, but…but…”
“But what? Just say it, I’ll take the responsibility for you!” Grand Concubine Yi replied, all stern righteousness.
Lady Xu lifted her head to look at Han Yunxi before timidly speaking, “This commoner doesn’t know who it is, but the Han Family’s storehouse key is with…with…”
Everyone had fallen quiet at her words, even holding their breath to wait for Lady Xu to say ‘Han Yunxi.’
The law couldn’t call the crowd into account when the Duke of Qin’s doors were closed. They could hide together and murmur things under their breath, or say things without scruples when they were excited. But now that Grand Concubine Yi and Qin Wangfei were both standing at the entrance, no one tried for idle gossip. It still took courage to single out Qin Wangfei right in front of her.
Grand Concubine Yi followed Lady Xu’s line of sight to Han Yunxi and hypocritically asked, “What now, the Han Family’s storehouse key is in Qin Wangfei’s hands?”
Lady Xu hastened to explain. “To reply esteemed Imperial Concubine, my Han Family’s storehouse key is indeed with Qin Wangfei! This commoner begged time and again for for the key but Qin Wangfei wouldn’t give it over. She said the old master handed it to her and agreed to bring me and a few young masters of the Han house to see our old master yesterday. But all of us waited for her the entire day without her ever showing up. This commoner didn’t see her when I dropped by last night either, so I came here to plead as a last resort.”
As she spoke, she kowtowed and cried out, “Grand Concubine Yi, this commoner doesn’t dare to make trouble, but this commoner has been wronged. There are difficulties that are hard to mention. I beseech Grand Concubine Yi to help out the Han Family! This commoner just wants to see my family’s old master.”
Grand Concubine Yi raised a hand to silence Lady Xu before shooting Han Yunxi a cold look. “Han Yunxi! Is what Lady Xu says true?”
“It’s the truth! Not a bit of lie to it,” Han Yunxi admitted openly.
At this, the crowd sucked in a collective breath, never imagining she’d admit things so easily. Han Yunxi’s mouth twitched. Lady Xu’s words had all been truth and nothing but the truth. How could she call it a lie?
“Lady Xu, this wangfei’s only caught a chill recently and was confined to bed, delaying you by one day. You trust this wangfei so little?” Han Yunxi asked back.
Everyone had finished singing their parts in the play, so it should be my turn now, right?
Lady Xu was ready to defend herself, but Han Yunxi overwhelmed her with a show of strength. Her voice was full of scorn. “It’s just late by one day, this wangfei never said she wouldn’t take you. Lady Xu, did you really need to make a ruckus at the gates? Don’t think mufei and I didn’t hear the words you said just then. I’ll tell you now, we heard clearly every single word!”
Han Yunxi had sold out Grand Concubine Yi completely with her words. So it turned out that Grand Concubine Yi heard everything just then? In a flash, the crowd was in an uproar. Grand Concubine Yi is already aware of everything, yet she still feigns to ask questions? This is too fake, isn’t it? What kind of trick is she hiding?
Lady Xu never expected Han Yunxi dared to pull Grand Concubine Yi down into the water with her. She stood there gaping, dumbstruck, unable to even speak. Murong Wanru was also dazed. She couldn’t understand it–wasn’t Han Yunxi very smart? Doesn’t she know that offending mufei would lead to dire consequences?
Unless she’s planning to die together with Lady Xu?
Murong Wanru felt dread at such a thought. If Lady Xu couldn’t gain any benefits, she’d definitely sell her out.
Heavens, how frightening!
In the middle of all the commotion, Grand Concubine Yi’s complexion was utterly horrific. Her ruthless glare was ready to swallow Han Yunxi whole. She’d worked so hard to recover her image but now it was all ruined and wrecked even worse than before.
But while everyone was mulling over the unthinkable, Han Yunxi spoke up loudly again. “Lady Xu, my mufei believes in Buddhism, so she’s always been tolerant and merciful to the wicked. She heard everything but pretended that she heard nothing, so she didn’t dispute with you and listened to your grievances. But unlike her, I won’t let this pass!”
Some people could talk without anyone ever listening. Others could talk and bring about a radical change in the situation.
Han Yunxi’s words had miraculously shifted the entire situation while reclaiming Grand Concubine Yi’s innocence. She’d even managed to flatter her to the skies.
Grand Concubine Yi calmed herself down, her mind a little blank. But in the end, she finally relaxed enough to exhale. Good, good, Han Yunxi’s deflection had left her a back route; otherwise, she’d have no idea how to bring about a compromise. Lady Xu was scared witless. She never imagined Han Yuxni could be so formidable, retreating in order to advance. With such tactics, she drew Grand Concubine Yi back to her side.
Murong Wanru more or less was able to gauge the purpose of Han Yunxi’s actions. She quickly asked curiously, “Sister-in-law, didn’t they say there was someone on top preventing the Han Family from visiting the prisons? How can you help them see Divine Doctor Han, then? How can you do it?”
Right now, Murong Wanru’s face was all innocence. But she’d grabbed onto the crux of the situation. Her words sounded so lovely, but even an idiot could tell that this was suspecting Han Yunxi as that “someone on top.”
How should Han Yunxi reply?
She really had ordered the justice courts to prohibit the Han Family from visiting the prisons. That was because of the task that Han Congan had entrusted to her. She didn’t know what kind of child Han Yunyi was; neither did she want the Han Family to find out about Han Congan’s decision of heir so quickly.
After she gained an understanding of Han Yunyi, she naturally had no qualms with letting them see Han Congan, because both of them favored Han Yunyi. Han Yunxi didn’t even think before speaking. “It’s true that this wangfei prohibited the Han Family from visiting. But this wasn’t my idea, but my father’s!”
Some explanations only made matters worse. Since she couldn’t explain clearly, she pushed all the responsibility to Han Congan. If he had the mind to have her support Han Yunyi and revive the Han house, he’d definitely stand on her side. At this critical juncture, Han Yunxi still stood solid.
But her words had hardly finished when Lady Xu hurried to ask, “Why? Why would the old master do this? Esteemed wangfei, you’re a married off daughter. The Han Family’s affairs, you…you shouldn’t interfere in them, right?” Lady Xu might have been roundabout in her words, but they were filled with suspicion and doubt.
Han Yunxi didn’t take offence and replied honestly. “Because father committed a grave crime and was too ashamed to face the Han Family ancestors, much less the rest of the Han Family. The day I went to call on him was when he was still troubled over the issue of the Han Family heir. They were either of mediocre talents and ignorantly incompetent, or too young to assume the duties of a head. He thus gave the key to me for safekeeping until a worthy heir emerged.”
When Han Yunxi finished speaking, Lady Xu smiled…
 retreating in order to advance (以退为进) – yi tui wei jin, to make concessions in order to gain advantages.
Original Chapter Teaser: Grand Concubine Yi: Name and reputation are a make or break business in the capital. Murong Wanru: As expected of mufei!
Grand Concubine Yi: Say what you want, but I know what I need and how to get it.
Han Yunxi: Doesn’t make your methods any less hateful, though.
Grand Concubine Yi: If I gave a whit about what everyone thought, I’d stay shut in my house all day.
Grand Concubine Yi: Especially thoughts of riffraff! If you can’t stop them from using their tiny little brains, you can at least point them in the right direction－away from you.
Han Yunxi: And onto me, right?
Murong Wanru: What better job for a daughter-in-law than serving her mother-in-law?
Grand Concubine Yi: *pats her hand* Wanru knows me best.
Han Yunxi: Ugh…you two really are family.
Grand Concubine Yi: Name and reputation are a make or break business in the capital.
Murong Wanru: As expected of mufei!