Chapter 120: Target of public criticism (Part 1)
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1 - Poison in Chinese is 2 words: 中毒
The first to react was Jiang Xu, his expression extremely ugly and shouting: “Doctor! Quickly get a doctor!” At this moment, he could care less about the frightened Crown Prince, much less the guests.
The Crown Prince was frozen at the scene, countless blood spots on his face, it wasn’t until the Crown Princess beside him quickly brought up a handkerchief did he snapped out of it, taking a glance at the Crown Princess, he instead turned to hold the pale face Consort, Jiang Lan: “Lan'er, don’t be afraid!”
Jiang Lan’s face is unprecedentedly pale, she actually pushed aside the Crown Prince and quickly stepped forward, kneeling shakily in front Duke's Furen.
Li Wei Yang watched this act yet her expression turning strange, seemingly sneering but also seems to be full of emotions, from the views of an outsider, it seems as though she has suffered a fright, therefore unsure of how to react. What’s happening in the hall seems like a scene from a play, while she is just standing there, quietly watching the play, from the start to the end, feeling an unusual calm.
Jiang Xu sent people all over to look for Jiang Tian but without any result, Jiang Tian seems to have dropped off the face of earth, that he actually did not show up for his grandmother’s birthday celebration. With no alternative, he hastily summoned a doctor, everyone in the hall was watching at a loss couldn’t help crowding around them, a strong pressure coming down heavily, causing Li Wei Yang to feel that the atmosphere here has a kind of pressure that cause people to feel disgusted, she couldn’t help taking a step back.
“Are you alright?” A voice suddenly sounded.
Li Wei Yang turned back but Li Min De has already passed several people to reach her side, a look of concern on his face.
Li Wei Yang shook her head, her gaze returning to the crowd. By the armchair surrounded by the Jiang’s direct line of descendants, no one can get close, yet Li Chang Le also rushed over, as if in a panic.
Though the heavy crowd, Doctor Liu’s words came through: “Official Jiang, please overcome your grief, Lao Furen already stopped breathing…” In his line of sight came Jiang Xu’s furious face along with Jiang Hai’s loud voice bawling: “Doctor Liu, don’t speak nonsense, my grandmother was just fine just now!”
Hearing this, Doctor Liu’s expression also became ugly, as a doctor, there is nothing more embarrassing than someone questioning his medical skills, under the cover of his sleeves, his hands shook nonstop and he spoke loudly: “Young Master, no breath is no breath, can I even lie about this! If you don’t believe it, see for yourself, there is not even a pulse!”
Jiang Xu, hearing that his mother has suddenly passed away, could only felt that his breath is stuck in his chest, unable to speak while the others are dumbstruck, never in a million years would they have thought, clearly this was a good day for a 60 years old birthday celebration, just now they could see that Lao Furen full of life and in excellent health, how could she die in just a little time?!
Jiang Lan suddenly cried with grief: “Grandmother! Grandmother! What’s happened to you? You were just fine, how could you just suddenly leave!”
The Crown Prince, seeing that his beloved consort full of grief and sorrow, hurriedly said: “Doctor Liu, just what illness did Guo Gong Furen contacted, why would she suddenly throw up blood and then die?” He has just wiped the bloodstains from his face, but his expression did not turn better.
Jiang Hai hurriedly said: “Doctor Liu, my grandmother has caught a cold a couple of days ago and was very sick at the time, it is before of this….”
Doctor Liu shook his head and said: “No, this does not seems to be symptoms of a common cold…”
Li Lao Furen watched from afar, only feeling that something doesn’t seems right, her heart beating wildly, raising an ominous sign. As if to prove her words, Doctor Liu’s next words were: “In fact, Duke's Furen was poisoned.”
Hearing this, Jiang Xu’s face immediately changed: “Poisoned?”
Doctor Liu nodded and took out a silver needle, tested the blood spat out by Duke's Furen, then held the silver needle up for everyone to see, his lips opening slightly, yet the words coming out of his mouth were cold: “Duke's Furen has indeed died from poison.”
Everyone looked at the tip of the silver needle, it has indeed turned black.
Jiang Xu couldn’t help closing his eyes, in a short period of time, cold sweat appeared his hands like rain, the two words(1) circling nonstop in his head, that is… poisoned! It’s actually poisoned! Just who has such guts! That they dared to use poison at the birthday celebration!
Everyone glanced at each other in silence, Duke's Furen is a madam of first rank and also the legitimate wife of Duke Jiang, the Empress Dowager has personally issued an edict ordering people to attend and celebrate her 60th birthday, yet on this birthday celebration, the originally healthy Duke's Furen suddenly died, the cause of death being poison. This matter rose like an earth shattering wave, once investigated, will embroil many. Yet here they are, standing here in this moment, personally watching everything that happened, it is set that they cannot stay out of it!
After a moment, the wind swept through the tower heralding a rising storm in the mountain, Jiang Lan, choked with tears, said: “Crown Prince! Please give justice for grandmother!”
Sure enough, hearing this, the Crown Prince became enraged, struck the table and said: “How preposterous! Who is it? Who has the gut to poison Duke's Furen? This much be investigated thoroughly to uncover the culprit!”
Once this command was given, everyone was in an uproar.
The Capital Administrator and the Minister of Justice has appeared, Yao Chang Qing said: “Your highness, this matter must be immediately reported to his Majesty and also seal off the Jiang residence to prevent the culprit from escaping at this time!”
Jiang Lao Furen’s meals were taken care of by a specially assigned person, therefore it could not be a case of ingested poison food by mistake, everyone felt that this is definitely a murder, moreover a murder to provoke the Empress Dowager and the Emperor, aren’t you wanting to celebrate Jiang Furen’s birthday with great fanfare? Look at the result now! Thinking of it, it can be sure that the Emperor would be extremely furious.
The Crown Prince nodded and said: “Someone immediately report to Imperial Father and also seals the entire Jiang residence, Official Zhang and Official Yao, both of you please interrogate carefully, you must get to the bottom of this!”
The Minister of Justice Zhang Hui’s expression is imposing; he exchanged a glance with Yao Chang Qing while saying: “Yes.”
On the other side, Li Min De who has been watching all of this silently said quietly: “It seems this wouldn’t end quickly.”
Li Wei Yang calmly look at the Jiang family, yet her gaze fell on the Li Chang Le crying with sorrow and said slowly: “Of course, they haven’t make a big fuss yet, how would they cease like this? We should be prepared!” as if this is all within prediction, Li Min De smiled slightly and didn’t speak again.
Jiang Xu ordered someone to settle Duke's Furen in the side hall, ordered a family member to prepare mourning clothes and such, then invite all the guests to wait in the main hall, then arrange for the Capital Administrator’s people to investigate the entire main hall, reception room, even Duke's Furen’s bed chamber, in order to find out where was she poisoned and who poisoned her. The Crown Prince’s consort Jiang Lan’, eyes red, as if holding back the pain of her sorrow, was speaking with Jiang Xu and the rest, while Li Chang Le was crying nonstop into her sleeves, showing a sorrowful look, while everyone else has a look of being absentminded.
Fifth Prince Tuoba Rui looked at the sorrowful Li Chang Le and seems to want to go and comfort her but recalling the last time when he saw Li Chang Le’s bald head where there were even maggots crawling, he couldn’t helped feeling extremely disgusted, no matter how much he pushed himself mentally, he could not make his legs walk over to that beauty, helpless, he turned away his gaze, towards the Tuoba Zhen who kept silent from the beginning, he said: “Third Brother, when can we leave here? They could not possibly suspect us right?”
Tuoba Zhen withdrew his gaze from the Jiangs and said hesitantly: “Didn’t you hear Crown Prince, the culprit must be ground before we can leave!” In other words, if the culprit is not found, then everyone must remain here, even if you are a prince.
Tuoba Rui humphed coldly and said: “He’s been bewitched by that Jiang Lan, listening to everything she says! Jiang Lao Furen couldn’t possibly be poisoned by us, what’s the use of arresting so many people; he’s simply making a laughingstock of himself!”
Tuoba Zhen didn’t say anything, except his gaze couldn’t help going to Li Wei Yang who is speaking to Li Min De, having not seen her for a few days, her face is unchangingly cold, expression low-key as usual, her clothes is not at all attention grabbing, but sitting there, she is already a curious scenery, eyebrows raised, elegant demeanor that reach the peak, every word, every action like a splendidly blooming sea of flowers, that he could not help voluntarily look at her. It’s not that Li Wei Yang is exceptionally beautiful; rather it is because he already fell in love with this person, unconsciously chasing after her. In the end it is still Tuoba Rui who cut him off: “I can’t stay still, I’ll go check and see if Yao Chang Qing has make any heads!” After saying this, Tuoba Rui stood up and head towards the solemn looking Capital Administrator.
Tuoba Yu is currently standing beside Yao Chang Qing, speaking to him: “You can carry out a detailed investigation, one step further to narrow down this down, since Duke's Furen was poisoned, that means that the culprit is has the opportunity to come in contact with her, half of the people in this hall can be eliminated, because they cannot enter the inner house, much less poison Duke's Furen’s food or items that she come in contact with.”
Yao Chang Qing nodded and said: “Indeed so, after narrowing it down, we will focus on investigating the maids around Duke's Furen and see if we can find any clues from them.”
At this moment, Tan Xiang cried out in alarm: “Da Xiaojie, are you alright?!”
Everyone immediately looked at Li Chang Le but all they saw was Li Chang Le extremely pale, her entire body leaning on Tan Xiang as if she would faint any moment, Jiang Lan knows her from a young age and consider to be close, hurried forward and asked: “Chang Le, are you alright?”
Jiang Da Furen frowned and quickly said : “Chang Le’s body has always been frail, today Lao Furen who have always adored her has suddenly passed away, I’m afraid she could not withstand the blow, hurry and help her inside to rest!”
Jiang Lan thus ordered Tan Xiang: “Help your Xiaojie to Xiu Lou where I previously lived in!”
“No need for the trouble, I will go rest in the guest room for a bit.” Li Chang Le, looking extremely frail, was about to leave the main hall with Tan Xiang when she suddenly saw Li Wei Yang stood up and said with a slight smile: “Da jie, this… perhaps is not appropriate.”
Everyone looked at Li Wei Yang and saw an expression of difficulty on her face, Jiang Lan frowned and said: “What’s not appropriate about it?”
Li Wei Yang’s line of sight fell on Li Chang Le, her tone calm: “Grandmother has just passed away, not of one us are not sad, the matter here has not been cleared up, therefore I feel that Da jie should bear a little longer, at least until we get to the bottom of the matter, besides, you care so much about grandmother, why wouldn’t you wait until the culprit is caught before leaving?”
Li Chang Le’s body swayed, a look of disbelief on her face, said: “Therefore what Third Sister meant is that even if I don’t feel well, I must remain here?”
Jiang Lan, with a trace of frost on her beautiful face, turned to stare at Li Wei Yang and said: “Anping Xianzhu, you being like this…it’s a bit too harsh towards your older sister.”
“Consort Lan feels that I am too harsh?” Li Wei Yang repeated “too harsh” these four words, as if unexpected but quickly her expression became serious and said: “I just have rational doubts. Before getting to the bottom of things, everyone is suspicious, Crown Princess, wouldn’t you say?”
Hearing this, the Crown Princess was surprised, having never thought that Li Wei Yang would ask her, looking at her astonished, Li Wei Yang said calmly: “Even though this is the Jiang’s residence, the most respected is Crown Prince Dianxia, since even the Crown Princess is here, this matter, naturally we need to respect your opinion, why don’t you say, should we let someone along leave this hall to go rest?”
The Crown Princess looked at Jiang Lan coldly, she can see that Li Wei Yang and the Jiangs are against each other, similarly, Jiang Lan and her are against each other, the enemy of an enemy is a friend, since Jiang Lan want to protect Li Chang Le, why can’t she protect Li Wei Yang? A woman’s rationale is this simply, just now she felt that Li Wei Yang is nothing much, but now she immediately felt that she has turned into someone whom she must become close with, she couldn’t help revealing a cold look and said: “Consort Lan, this is the Jiang’s residence, we must respect their thoughts, we can’t just randomly butt in. Besides, this matter involves Duke's Furen’s death, this is simply not a small matter, of course my words are not because I am suspicious of Li Da Xiaojie, it’s just that… Xianzhu is correct, everyone is a suspect, and we cannot easily indulge in them. Li Da Xiaojie need rest, of course she can rest in this hall, someone, give her a seat.”
Li Chang Le has never thought that the Crown Princess would cut in, her expression becoming even uglier, she can only force herself to give thanks for the seat, just as she was about to walk over to the chair, it seems as though she accidentally staggered, Tan Xiang was unable to support her by herself, just as she was about to fall down, a hand came forward and helped steady her.
Turning back, she saw that it was Li Wei Yang.
Li Wei Yang said warmly: “Da jie, you must be careful.”
Li Chang Le simply hate this person to death but doesn’t dare to flare up in front of everyone, she glanced around weakly, but Li Xiao Ran’s face is solemn, Li Lao Furen’s indifferent, her uncles and cousins are discussing the funeral arrangements, Consort Lan cannot go against the Crown Princess’ words… in the end, she could only stare at Li Wei Yang with hatred and turn her head: “Thank you.”
Her voice was extremely stiff while at the same time she quietly took a step back.
Li Wei Yang looked the revengeful expression on her face, smiled lightly, as if nothing has happened and said: “You’re welcome.”
After this interlude, everyone in the hall can only dispersed to sit in their own seats, naturally the guests who can enter this hall are people with positions and power while the common guests are already under control outside. But for these people to just sit here, it is really painful, thus they prefer to stand up and observe the gifts that were originally offered to Lao Furen.
Tuoba Zhen’s gaze fell on a special gift, he stood up and walked in front of the lacquer screen and inspect carefully. This lacquer screen has four panels in total, a delicate picture carved on each panel. The picture, covered in gold, silvers, jadeites, pearls, agates, is without a doubt a precious antique. He couldn’t help saying: “Imperial brother, this is your gift right?”
The Crown Prince was momentarily surprised and then walked over, took a look at the beautiful screen and couldn’t helped saying with a sigh: “Yes, this gift was prepared by Consort Lan on my behalf for three months, originally it was to let Lao Furen be happy, who knew that before she could see this screen, she is already gone, wasting Lan er’s efforts.”
Having touch upon this sore point, Jiang Lan could not help wiping her tears and said: “Dianxia, I grew up under grandmother’s knee, and is extremely close to her, for my sake, please give justice for grandmother!”
Jiang Second Furen’s expression became stiff for a moment but she quickly lowered her eyes, as if she heard nothing, Li Wei Yang saw all of this but didn’t find it weird, everyone knew that the Jiangs place importance on the distinction between legitimate born and concubine born, the sons have a lot of concubines but very few concubine born children. This Jiang Lan, is the only female amongst the Jiang’s grandchildren, and also the only one born of a concubine, her position extremely awkward and delicate, yet Duke's Furen actually took her to raise her by her side, afterward send her into the Crown Prince’s residence, that people can’t help sighing. Now, looking at Jiang Second Furen’s expression, Li Wei Yang is more certain, Jiang Second Furen do not like this Jiang Lan, and what’s more, is really don’t like her. Of course, this is not the main point that she is concern about so she quickly moved her gaze, as if she didn’t feel anything.
At this moment, a guard quickly came in, everyone’s eyes widen immediately, waiting for the result of their investigation.
Yao Chang Qing hurried asked: “Just what has happened?”
The guard spoke loudly: “Replying to the various officials, this subordinate has discovered a special item in the small parlor of the room where Duke's Furen entertains guests. On the tray are this year’s newly offered jujubes, the rest are common snacks such as lotus cake and butterfly cookies, there are also some seeds, preserved fruits, nothing that seems out of the ordinary, who knew that underneath the tea table, we found a dead rat along with a half bitten jujube on the floor, after questioning the yatous in the parlor, we find that someone would sweep the room every day, therefore if there is a dead rat, it would definitely be discovered and not left there until now, therefore this rat has to have died recently, we let the coroner dissect this rat, the result is that we found…”
Jiang Xu rushed ahead to ask: “What did you discover?” After asking, he immediately realized that bypassing both the Minister of Justice and Yao Chang Qing to question this matter is inappropriate, but the one who died is his mother, therefore no one blamed him for that, Yao Chang Qing also nodded and said: “Continue!”
The guard continued speaking: “After the coroner dissected the rat, we actually found some jujube flesh in its stomach, thus becoming suspicious of these jujubes, we turned back to inspect the remaining jujube on the floor and finally discovered with the poison came from.”
Since the incident has happened, the third young master of the Jiang, Jiang Hua, who has been silent this whole time couldn’t help feeling his heart moved: “Are you saying that the culprit put poison in the jujube?”
The guard immediately responded: “Yes, after this subordinate discovered that the jujube has poison, I immediately command the coroner to investigate carefully, and discovered that amongst the other 13 pieces of jujubes, there are two that has poisons in it, thus it can be seen that there was not enough time for the culprit to act thus he cannot put poison on each jujube, of course, this also proves that this person is close to Duke's Furen, thus having this opportunity.”
Jiang Hua slowly shook his head and said: “He doesn’t need to put poison on every jujube, just need to be sure that the poisoned one has been consumed by my grandmother is enough! This person is very cruel!”
When they spoke of the jujubes, Li Wei Yang’s expression has already changed, this change is very minute, aside from Li Min De beside her, no one else has noticed this.
The next instance, the originally frail Li Da Xiaojie suddenly stood up, a face white like the snow on the branch, slightly stumbling, Tan Xiang besides her hurriedly steady her, she said chokingly: “Third Sister, why did you harm grandmother!”