Please welcome Panisa and Jaslynn! Panisa will be editing the chapters from now on and Jaslynn will be helping out with the translation to balance out the workload!
This chapter is translated by Chau!
Chapter 66: Digging Your Own Grave
Niang niang - honorific for the Empress and imperial concubines
Da sao - sao is an honorific for sister-in-law (in this case), children also use it to refer to the wife of a paternal uncle
Dimei - honorific for a sister-in-law who is the wife of a younger brother
Huibing - how servants/nubi address others of higher status
Zhang nu - eldest daughter of a household
Sinister aura - the harmful or evil distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place
法師 Fǎshī - can be translated to Taoist master; in many dramas and novels, their job is to: identify evil spirits in people’s homes, perform rituals, and hopefully banish them
厌胜之术 Yàn shèng zhī shù - ancient witchcraft involving curses; if a family was cursed, they might be homeless, physically injured, die, or even lose their home and family
Convent - a monastery but specifically an institution of female monastics (nuns) only
Li Chang Le returned to her courtyard and secretly had Tan Xiang ask around about this. When Tan Xiang returned, Li Chang Le could not wait to ask: “What did they say?”
Tan Xiang said: “Nubi found seven or eight physicians. They all confirmed that placenta does have benefits and can nourish one’s beauty. Besides, many of the niang niang in the palace also eat this. Perhaps what Wu Xiaojie said was not false.”
Li Chang Le had seen it before in medicinal texts, but those bloody things, in the end she still felt unusual and disgusting, now seeing Li Chang Xi use it to nourish her beauty, of course she could not resist the temptation.
That night, Li Chang Le quietly went to the Shuang Yue Pavilion. Li Chang Xi was seated on a lounge. A Yatou carried a tray inside and approached her. There was a small, delicate bowl on the tray. Out of habit, Li Chang Xi lifted the lid and began to carefully eat.
Li Chang Le had barely stepped through the door when she sensed a strange aroma.
This enticing aroma had a hint of fresh blood. Li Chang Le instinctively held her nose, but she immediately felt that the action was too sudden, reluctantly smiled and stroked her hair, saying: “Meimei is eating that?”
Li Chang Xi saw Li Chang Le and immediately stopped eating and stood up to greet her.
“The aroma is a bit unusual, is it truly effective?” Li Chang Le could not help but ask.
Li Chang Xi calmly smiled: “Dajie, I will not deceive you. Compared to Xue Lian ginseng, it is much more effective. Right now, I only hope that this can erase my scar.”
“These things——is it true that they have harmful effects…” Li Chang Le was very cautious.
“How can they not be good in any way, if they were harmful, then why would so many people dare to eat this? This cannot be easily obtained. You must be fortunate to take it right after someone has given birth. Common physicians cannot obtain this, and the cost starts with the price of gold and upwards.”
Li Chang Le’s fingers trembled slightly. She heard Li Chang Xi laugh and say: “Dajie, do you want to take some and try it for yourself?”
Li Chang Le looked at the blue and white porcelain bowl, hesitating. In the end, she still could not resist the temptation of becoming even more beautiful and nodded.
Three days later, that night, Lin mama by Da Furen’s side had brought four big-boned mamas and suddenly advanced towards Li Wei Yang’s courtyard.
Li Wei Yang had changed into her night clothes to go to sleep early. She was running a comb through her hair when she heard Bai Zhi from outside say: “Lin mama, as late as it is, why would Furen want to invite our Xiaojie over?”
Li Wei Yang looked at her reflection, a corner of her lips curving upwards. Of course, Da Furen was rather anxious and had finally decided to eliminate her? Mo Zhu softly said: “Xiaojie, should you reapply your makeup or not?”
Li Wei Yang nodded. Mo Zhu nimbly helped her brush her hair, reapply her makeup, and change into her day clothes.
Outside, Lin mama smiled as if she were not smiling at all: “We are only servants and would not dare to dispute this matter. This is Da Furen’s order, I am only the messenger. Please have San Xiaojie come with Nubi.”
Although Li Wei Yang was Xianzhu of the second rank, Da Furen was her dimu and not to mention, of the first rank. Although Lin mama was respectful, in truth, she would not look at Li Wei Yang twice given the choice, and her tone of voice was strange. Frustrated, Bai Zhi was about to retort when she recalled Xiaojie’s order, and smiled and said: “If so, then Lin mama, please wait for a bit. Xiaojie will immediately rise and get dressed.”
Lin mama said: “Of course, Nubi can wait here.”
Li Wei Yang slowly reapplied her makeup and changed into her clothes. She ordered Bai Zhi to call all the Yatous and mamas to wait in Li Wei Yang’s courtyard. Bai Zhi had an idea of what they were waiting for. She bowed and did as ordered. Li Wei Yang brought Mo Zhu with her, and they calmly left.
Da Furen’s courtyard was not the meeting place but in the main hall. Gathered there, aside from Er Lao Ye who had business away, Lao Furen, Da fang, Er fang, and San fang were all present. Li Chang Le was compelling in her light purple dress, attracting everyone’s attention. She was called here in the middle of the night, but her beauty did not diminish at all, on the other hand, her lovely face was delicate as plum blossoms, her form as if she were flying amidst the clouds, refined and beautiful, making Er Xiaojie Li Chang Ru turn back to look at her again and again.
Li Wei Yang greeted everyone. Her gaze fell on Da Furen.
Da Furen sat straight, her hair a bit disheveled. There was only a ruby hairpin to keep her hair up and no other jewelry, giving her an air of simplicity and generosity. Her gaze shifted to Li Wei Yang, smiling: “Take a seat over there first.”
Er Furen finally lost her patience and said: “Da sao, what is the matter here? It is the middle of the night, yet you will not let anyone rest!” Her last words seemed demanding and questioning.
Li Xiao Ran frowned but did not say anything. Da Furen smiled and said: “I am doing this for the Li family’s sake because what I am about to say involves everyone in the Li family, therefore I must be careful. If Er Dimei does not want to hear this, you may return. This matter will not be delayed without you.”
What was not said could be overlooked, but by opening her mouth, she had already implicated the crime with Er Furen. Er Furen scoffed, “Since we are already here, we should hear it before we go. Da sao, if you have something to say, then go ahead.”
From what Da Furen had said, Li Wei Yang had understood her intentions but still pretended not to have sensed anything wrong, ignoring Li Chang Le’s gaze as if it were empty air.
Lao Furen lost her patience: “Very well, what is it that you wish to say, explain this clearly!”
Da Furen smiled coldly and said: “Lao Furen, if it was not urgent, I would not have troubled you. These days, Lao Ye has been having nightmares again and again. My heart was torn, and I immediately invited the most well-known Taoist master in the Capital to see. He senses that there is a sinister aura within our home.”
Lao Furen scoffed coldly: “A sinister aura? Where is this sinister aura?”
Da Furen’s expressions slightly darkened. She wearily looked over everyone in an arc and said: “This matter - I hope Lao Furen will agree to search the courtyards.”
Lao Furen frowned Under the candlelight, she seemed rather somber and disinterested: “What are you saying? It is late into the night, and you wish to investigate?”
Da Furen lightly smiled and said: “Yes, that is right.”
Lao Furen’s frown deepened her wrinkles, forming the character 川. She was about to say something but heard Li Xiao Ran say: “Lao Furen, my health truly has not been well recently. I only fear there is a fiend causing trouble in our home, so we must thoroughly investigate.”
Lao Fufen said, “If so, won’t it cause unnecessary fear and panic and make the family uneasy?”
The area under Li Xiao Ran had darkened to blue black He had not slept well for many nights. He looked to Lao Furen and sincerely said: “I do not have any other choice. If I continue like this, there is not a day when I feel at peace.”
Da Furen smiled and said: “It is just to search as a precaution. If there really is something wrong, then it will not be too late to resolve it.”
Li Wei Yang kept her head lowered, not a single strand of hair had fallen out of place, as if Da Furen’s words had nothing to do with her.
Er Furen smiled rather coldly: “What? Da sao intends to even search our bedrooms?”
Da Furen calmly responded: “Could it be that Er Dimei has something that she does not want others to see?”
Er Furen shook with fury: “Da sao, what are you trying to say?” She glared at Da Furen: “Did you call us here in the middle of the night to humiliate us?”
Da Furen coldly smiled: “Er Dimei, I am only saying that those who do not want to be searched must have demons in their heart.”
Er Furen nearly leapt to her feet: “Da sao obviously – ” Li Chang Ru subtly pulled at Er Furen’s sleeves, “Mother.”
Er Furen froze, realizing Lao Furen and Li Xiao Ran were looking at her, and suddenly fell silent. She was breathing heavily as she sat down: “If you want to search, then search, but if nothing is found, then what?”
Da Furen calmly said: “The Taoist master said there is a filthy object, so it cannot be fake.”
San Furen suddenly said: “Who will you have search the courtyards?”
Da Furen smiled and said: “Of course, arrangements have been made.”
Er Furen smiled coldly: “Da sao, if only your servants search, I fear it will not be for the best.”
At that moment, Li Wei Yang, who had been indifferent, decided to speak: “I believe Mother’s decision is well-intentioned this time. Every fang should send someone to join the search, then that way, won’t it be fair?”
If so, there would be others aside from Da fang. To Er Furen, this scenario seemed much better. Moreover, with others there, Da Furen would not be able to manipulate any of the evidence.
Da Furen saw through Li Wei Yang’s intentions and coldly scoffed. This lowly girl does not know everything was arranged beforehand and continued to struggle moments before her death.
Lao Furen said: “Then quickly go. It is already late as it is.”
Da Furen nodded and gestured to Lin mama, who immediately led the others to search. Er Furen and San Furen had ordered their trusted stewards to follow. Lao Furen paused and thought, “Luo mama, go with them.”
Li Wei Yang’s eyes were downcast. With so many people, no one had much of an advantage. She slowly closed her eyes. Suddenly, there was a hand tugging at her sleeve.
Li Wei Yang opened her eyes and saw Li Min De in front of her.
Li Min De’s gaze was reserved, his long eyelashes quivering. The bottom of his eyes were consumed by a dark shadow, but the friendliness in his eyes was genuine.
“Sanjie, do you not feel well? Why is your face that pale?”
Li Wei Yang smiled slightly, “I am fine. Having been dragged here in the middle of the night, I only feel a bit sleepy.”
“Ah.” Li Min De said when he saw the smiling intention in her eyes.
Li Chang Le coldly looked at them. She could not possibly understand why, despite using her most gentle expression with Li Min De, he remained cold as ice, but in front of Li Wei Yang, he obediently listened to her like a docile kitten.
Li Min Feng sat beside her and also noticed this. He broke into a cold smile. Li Wei Yang, the day you die is almost here, try and make the most of this final hour.
Everyone was seated in the main hall, but no one was in the mood for conversation. They were left to their thoughts, occasionally hearing Li Min De and Li Wei Yang whisper, but other than that, there was only the sound of prayer beads in Lao Furen’s hand.
Two shichen passed, and everyone who went to search had returned. The person at the lead was not Lin mama, but rather the last person in the group led by Luo mama.
Luo mama clapped her hands and said: “Bring them here.”
The corners of Da Furen’s lips revealed a slight, subtle smile.
The Yatous lifted a tray and carried it into the main hall. Something bulging under the cloth on the tray. It seemed to have hidden quite a bit.
Da Furen slightly laughed aloud: “What have you found?”
Luo mama suspiciously glanced at Da Furen and said: “Huibing Da Furen, every courtyard was very clean, but something unusual was discovered in Da Xiaojie’s kitchen.”
Suddenly, Li Chang Le stood up and thought about the placenta being discovered, but she felt it was not much of a concern either. It was only for beauty nourishment. Although it was not very pleasant, it was not a severe crime either. At the same time, she felt that it was strange. Mother was intent on searching the courtyards. She thought something would be found in Li Wei Yang’s courtyard, but why was nothing found at all?
Da Furen was horrified: “What?”
Luo mama lifted back the cloth on the tray. Judging by its unusual color, there seemed to be a clump of flesh underneath. Li Chang Ru frowned at the sight of it: “What is this filthy thing?”
Li Chang Le frowned and blamed herself for her greed. She had taken not a piece of placenta but all of it from Chang Xi. When those things had yet to be prepared as a dish, they seemed a bit disgusting.
She hesitated, unsure of how to explain. Da Furen breathed a sigh of relief and said: “So, it was a placenta.” It was only for beauty nourishment, a bit bloody though. Chang Le was rather daring, even willing to eat something like this. After that, she smiled and said to Luo mama, “Aside from this, nothing was found in the other rooms?”
She clearly had someone bury seven wooden dolls in the ground. How was not a single one found when they were searching?”
Luo mama said: “Every room has been searched. There was nothing.”
Da Furen’s face suddenly became unsightly.
Luo mama paused, glancing over everyone’s expressions before saying: “There is something strange inside the placenta—— ”