Ji Yunshu’s sudden collapse scared everyone.
Wei Yi was so nervous he held her in his arms and called her name, “Shu’er, Shu’er…”
Ji Yunshu, who was leaning against Wei Yi’s chest, stared at the ground, as if it was too much of an effort to raise her eyes. Her lips trembled, but she could not utter a single word.
“The injury on her back must have worsened. This child is simply too kind-hearted. Why would you jump into the water with that many contusions on your back?” Madame Wei commented as she was visibly distressed by Ji Yunshu’s pain. Tears scintillated in her eyes as she hurried to give orders to the servants, “What are you doing, standing around like that? Quickly, go get a doctor!”
The servants were so surprised that only after a few moments did they scramble to seek help.
Ji Shuhan was also beyond baffled. He beckoned for two maids and said, “Please help the third miss return to her quarters.”
As the maids received Ji Yunshu from Wei Yi, the latter said, “Please be careful and don’t cause Shu’er any pain.”
Suddenly, Ji Lingzhi raised her voice, “Stop it right there, put her down.”
What was she up to this time?
She freed herself from the embrace of the Old Madame and approached Ji Yunshu, pointing at her back and emitted a sound of discontent, “Her back is fine, she just said to older sister that the redness on her clothes is just the colour from the water, I’ve heard it.”
“Lingzhi, enough,” yelled Ji Shuhan.
“I’m not lying, she is,” said Ji Lingzhi. To prove the veracity of her claim, she quickly gripped the collar of Ji Yunshu’s robe and pulled it with a strength which seemed to have come out of nowhere. This revealed Ji Yunshu’s delicate shoulder and three inches of her back from her neck. Her skin, which should otherwise have been of a milky white, was covered by interweaved bruises. The scabs which sealed them had been ruptured, and blood of a lurid redness was seeping out of them. The next instant, her robe was placed back by a maid.
Ji Yunshu’s glacial hands were laced with her own arms, and she sobbed quietly, as if she had lost her will to live.
“Lingzhi, how could you…?” asked Ji Yunshu, in a weak voice filled with sadness. It was an outrage to unclothe her, especially given the mores of her time. To Ji Yunshu, this was a humiliation of the highest degree. What followed was...
This was from Madame Wei, who no longer saw any reason to restrain herself. Ji Lingzhi’s small cheek became the recipient of another blow.
“What shameful behaviour, what effrontery for one of such a young age! To unclothe a damsel in public… Does your impudence know no bounds? Very well, if no one will teach you manners, then I shall help your father with the task.” Ji Yunshu was her future daughter-in-law. Was the action of shaming her not a blatant strike at the Wei family’s pride and dignity?
The sudden retaliation struck everyone present by surprise. Ji Lingzhi held her cheek, and, though she knew that she deserved what she received, tears still rolled down her visage as she ran back to seek the comfort of the Old Madame’s embrace.
“Grandmother, you have to help me!” cried Ji Lingzhi.
To her surprise, the Old Madame shook her off and blamed her, “You little girl, how could you do something like that?”
Oh, how infuriating! That Madame Wei dares to transgress the limits of her authority and do that to someone from the Ji Mansion, thought the Old Madame rather angrily. But, the mistake from her own granddaughter prevented from turning her resentment into action. After all, she would not have been able to requite to Madame Wei what she did to Ji Lingzhi.
By now, Ji Shuhan’s had nearly turned blue. The corner of his mouth twisted. He grasped his crutch and said to the two maidservants, “For now, return her to her quarters.”
“Yes,” answered the two maidservants.
“Wait,” interrupted Madame Wei, “I wouldn’t think of here as a place fit for convalescence, be it for injuries or sickness. She shall mend her wounds and recover from her sickness at the Wei Mansion, so that no new affliction is added to the old ones.”
Truthful words indeed, thought Ji Yunshu, who, for a moment, felt lucky to have such a prospective mother-in-law.
Old Madame Ji had a different opinion. She stepped forward and said, “Madame Wei, there’s only youth to blame for Lingzhi’s behaviour. We will, of course, teach her a lesson. However, Yunshu, who has yet to become a bride, should stay here. It wouldn’t be appropriate, by mores or by reason, for her to be displaced to your residence.”
“Oh, but it would be appropriate, worry not,” said Lord Wei with a reddened face that hinted at the forbearance required to reign in his anger. He turned around and said to Wei Yi, “Yi’er, bring Yunshu into the carriage and go, now.”
“Understood,” said Wei Yi with a firm nod.
He sought Ji Yunshu from the hands of the two maidservants, and said to her, “Shu’er, I’ll bring you home,” and brought her out of the room in his arms. This scene made the Old Madame and Ji Shuhan’s expressions darken further.
Lord Wei did not say anything, only snorting with his dissatisfaction before walking out of the room.
Madame Wei, however, was not finished. Anger burned within her heart as fiercely as ever. She addressed Ji Shuhan, “Lord Ji, according to you, was Yunshu’s punishment by the tip of a whip not delivered for pushing and grievously injuring Lingzhi’s hand? I wish to see justice for the events which has transpired today; not only did Lingzhi commit the same offense, she worsened her mistake by stripping Yunshu’s garment in public. I hope that you will not disappoint me, as well as the many others watching you. After all, rules are made to be obeyed.”
“You are right, I will see to it that she is properly punished,” sighed Ji Shuhan.
Upon leaving, Madame Wei did not forget to throw a look at Ji Lingzhi, who was still sobbing. Her look made Ji Lingzhi shiver from head to toes.
The troubles of the day arrived at an end, but, out of consideration for his own face, Ji Shuhan had to punish Ji Lingzhi. She was still too young to be physically punished, therefore… “You will kneel in front of the Buddha shrine for the whole night. Then, copy the Sanxun fifty times, without fault,” ordered Ji Shuhan.
Hearing this, Ji Lingzhi panicked. She had never endured such harsh punishment!
“Father, believe me! I didn’t push Eldest Sister. And the blood on Third Sister is red water. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Eldest Sister. Father…”
“Enough, no more about what happened today. Your impertinence breeds trouble, and, one day, even I won’t be able to help you clean your messes,” berated Ji Shuhan as he left. Old Madame Ji, who also suffered a heavy blow to her face today, followed Ji Shuhan in the same mood.
Ji Muqing, abed, looked at the events unfold. She called Ji Lingzhi, who was still wiping her tears, to her side. “Lingzhi, were you really the one who pushed me?” asked Ji Muqing in a low voice.
“Big Sister, it’s really not me. It’s that bastard child. She pulled me over and I bumped into you, she even slapped me on the face,” said Ji Lingzhi as she held her cheeks, which were swollen from the two blows she had received.
Upon hearing her explanation, Ji Muqing also realised that Ji Yunshu’s behaviour today was quite strange. Asking me to look at something in the water for no reason at all, and insisting on picking up Ji Lingzhi. She must have planned this for a long time.
“Lingzhi, I’ll make sure that she doesn’t get away with what she did today,” said Ji Muqing as she squinted and looked as if she was thinking about something dangerous.
Grenn's Rants Corner
I like the Wei couple. Although them being nice is not for 100% pure reason, but at least, Ji Yunshu doesn't have to exchange bad relatives for bad "future" in-laws.
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