Chapter 33 The Mess at the Family Rites (2)
Mo Huawen harrumphed and said, “Mo Lan, tell me what’s wrong with Tong’er. Have you all not taken good care of her and now she’s sick?”
“I do not dare!” Mo Lan said fearfully. She did not dare to say anything else. However, her gaze landed on Mo Xuetong’s collar for a few moments. She looked as if she had something to say but was hesitant to.
Mo Huawen felt a surge of anger when he saw that Mo Lan obviously wanted to say something but shut her mouth fearfully. Then, he looked at Mo Xuetong who was obviously in pain but did not say anything about it. Her face was pale and she looked weak. He roared, “Servants, take the two maids down and give them 20 beatings each.”
Two servants immediately appeared behind him. They went up to drag Mo Lan and Mo Yu away emotionlessly.
Mo Xuetong reached out to stop Mo Huawen when she saw that.
“Father, hold on. It is Mo’er’s fault. It has nothing to do with them.” Mo Xuetong explained hurriedly as she came up from her prostrate position and looked up.
Everyone saw that her face was as pale as snow and that she was dripping in cold sweat. It was obvious that she had been in pain. Even so, her clear eyes had a trace of stubbornness in their fragileness. Her long dark lashes fluttered up and she bit her lips anxiously, drawing blood. She smiled and looked strong despite the pain she was in.
“What’s wrong with Third Miss? Why didn’t you tell me when you’re not feeling well? We can just get First Miss to greet the guests for you. It’s lucky I made First Miss another set of clothes. We will just get First Miss to replace Third Miss. The two maids are too much. Your mistress is so ill and you didn’t even help her and made her stay here. She’s a girl, it’d be terrible if she got hurt!” Auntie Fang who had been inside rushed out. She hid the viciousness in her eyes and said warmly. She ordered two older maids to come to help Mo Xuetong, wanting to move her away.
She had done something to coax Mo Huawen. Lihua Garden was calm and peaceful recently.
Auntie Fang pushed for Mo Xuemin to take Mo Xuetong’s place. Her daughter was so outstanding and was doted on by Mo Huawen.
If Mo Xuemin could kneel at the door and greet the guests with the status as the daughter of the main branch of the family, her son would be able to come out as well. He would no longer be looked down upon as the son of a concubine. When the status of her son and daughter was elevated, her position would naturally be elevated as well. Furthermore, if Mo Xuetong did not stay for the family rites because of her health, the various rumors would be enough to ruin her reputation.
Auntie Fang was not afraid that the tampering of Mo Xuetong’s clothing would be discovered.
The clothes were bad. But so what if the threads were coarse? It was clothing made of coarse cloth, so how exquisite could it be. Who would be able to discover its hidden secrets once she took it off? Auntie Fang trusted that no one here would be able to recognize the amazing “Heavenly Silkworm Needle”.
Could Mo Xuetong blame her father’s concubine for not giving her good silk clothing to wear at the family rites?! This was one of the reasons why Auntie Fang had dared to bully Mo Xuetong so openly. She hated Mo Xuetong very much, especially in the past few days. There was viciousness hidden in her eyes. This time, Mo Xuetong would not be able to marry well. She would control the little slut from now on.
“Stop!” Mo Xuetong’s expression cooled when she saw the two maids reaching out to pull her. She spoke coldly, and her eyes were dark as she looked up at Auntie Fang. Auntie Fang felt cold dread filling her and she took a step back.
“Father, I am not ill!” She turned to smile gently at Mo Huawen. She reached out to take a handkerchief Mo Yu handed her and wiped the sweat off her face elegantly. She smiled adorably but only looked extremely haggard.
“Third Miss, how can you not be ill. Your face is so pale. Listen to me, go back in to rest. Your eldest sister is healthy and it is more suitable for her to kneel here. You’re a girl, and you have to kneel for the entire day. You have always been in ill health, how can you bear this?” Auntie Fang reacted and hurried to speak before Mo Huawen. She was a sly person but felt anxious when those eyes looked at her. She just wanted to hurry and get Mo Xuetong inside the room and not blow up the matter.
Auntie Fang glanced at the maids and they did not hesitate anymore. One of them pulled Mo Xuetong’s hand. It looked as if she was helping Mo Xuetong up, but she was really pulling her. She said, “Third Miss, follow us back and and rest.”
She was known for being sick. No matriarch of a noble family would be willing to have a daughter-in-law who was so weak she could not even kneel for a while. It would be difficult for them to have children if they were in ill health.
“Let go!” Mo Xuetong yelled coldly. She shook off the maids’ hands forcefully.
She held Mo Lan’s hand and bowed deeply to Auntie Fang. Pain clouded her once clear eyes. There seemed to be a faint mist over her beautiful face and one could not tell that she was weak and in pain.
Auntie Fang could not help but back away at Mo Xuetong’s bow. There were so many people around and she did not dare to accept Mo Xuetong, the main daughter’s bow.
“Thank you, Auntie, for your concern. It’s been hard on you. I did not think that you would treat me so well, you even want to let Eldest Sister help me. But does Eldest Sister have clothes like this?” Mo Xuetong suppressed the hate she felt for the woman and asked gently.
Mo Xuetong was the daughter of the main branch of the family. She had bowed very respectfully to a concubine at the family rites. This was not right to those watching. However, they could also see that this concubine was different from other concubines. She must be very powerful in the inner courtyard for a main daughter to be so careful with her. This was not a good sign.
“Is she the concubine or the matriarch?” The guests were all noble and highly educated. They all spoke when they wish and embarrassed Auntie Fang right there and then.
“A concubine has actually taken the place of the matriarch. How shameless!” Another person scolded.
Bai Yihao stood by the side with a trace of laughter in his eyes. She knelt there looking wronged and careful, looking like she had been bullied but did not dare to say something. She spoke up for Auntie Fang gently, “Even though Auntie Fang is not the matriarch, but my eldest sister has already performed the rites for our ancestors on behalf of me before. Shes almost…”
“That’s ludicrous. A daughter of a concubine has only done the family rites for the main daughter once and she wants to help her mother become the wife?” Someone could not bear to listen any longer and started scolding immediately. Mo Huawen’s expression darkened. Those present were all nobles and scholars. If the rumors started that he cared more for his concubine’s children than his main line, it would harm his reputation as a court official and he might even be complained about in court.
“Third Young Miss Mo. If you trust me, shall I make a diagnosis?” Bai Yihao squatted down and did not wait for Mo Xuetong to object. He held up her wrist with a light smile and spoke softly and gently. His clothes were as white as snow, and when he lowered himself, others did not feel that he was being impolite, but felt that he was noble and elegant.
A person like him was willing to lower himself and make a diagnosis for Mo Xuetong. What great luck that was. In the shadow of the gree, Mo Xuemin, who was wearing the plain coarse clothes, long prepared to take Mo Xuetong’s place, looked at him dazedly. She only wished that the handsome face was smiling at her. Her fingers pressed onto the tree leaves forcefully and she did not feel anything even as the sharp leaves pierced through her skin.
There was only this moment left in her mind. The handsome young man’s enchanting smile. She had thought that Sima Lingyun and You Yuecheng were very handsome and no one could compare. But there was someone who was so handsome, so noble, so perfect!
“Many thanks, Sir Bai!” Mo Xuetong stretched out her hand graciously and looked at Bai Yihao with her dark eyes. A gentle smile curled on her lips.
She was an extremely intelligent woman! What was rare was that she could bear so much. She was exactly the one he was looking for. He was willing to stretch out an olive branch at the right time…
Bai Yihao looked at her unmovingly and placed his long fingers on her pale wrist. He said with a faint smile, “Third Young Miss Mo is not ill, but she has been hurt!” Her long fingers flicked lightly and Mo Xuetong’s sleeves were flicked up her wrist. There were large red marks on her pale skin that made others feel a chill go down their spines.
There were many marks and some spots were even bleeding. She looked as if she had been jabbed by needles.
“Someone’s placed sharp needles in Third Young Miss Mo’s clothing. They pierced through her skin which was why she could not hold on any longer and that is the reason for her pale complexion.” Bai Yihao made the diagnosis. Then, he turned and brought his servants into the hall. He reached out and scratched the inside of her clothing, revealing sharp spikes. If one looked carefully, they were like thin needles. They were so thin they were like hair and one would not be able to see them if they did not look carefully.
Mo Xuetong flushed as her arms were revealed. She quickly hid her arm but everyone had already seen the red welts on her arm and the fine needles. Their expression all changed.
“What exactly happened?” Mo Huawen’s expression darkened. He pulled on Mo Xuetong’s arm which she had hidden and yelled at Auntie Fang.
“Father, nothing’s the matter. Perhaps the clothing had not been cleaned properly because it was made in a rush. Tong’er only felt as if there were needles piercing me after I put on the clothes. It’s fine, and it’s only a few spots. Tong’er will bear the pain and will not hinder the family rites.” Mo Xuetong smiled and answered before Auntie Fang could. However, her cloudy eyes seemed to be filled with sufferance that made others pity her. She looked at Auntie Fang fearfully and lowered her head, biting her lips.
Auntie Fang’s complexion had turned as white as snow when she saw the fine needles. She could not stand any longer and knelt down forcefully. “I don’t know what happened. Old Sir, perhaps those who did the tailoring had done this in a hurry.”
Mo Huawen was enraged by this. He almost yelled, “You slut, how dare you speak after doing something like this.”
The truth had been revealed. It was obvious someone had tampered with Tong’er’s clothing. Who else other than Auntie Fang could do something like this? Mo Huawen hated himself for softening his heart towards her in the past few days. He pitied Mo Xuetong when he saw how she bit her lips in pain and at the blood appearing at her lips. She had not said anything negative towards Auntie Fang even though she was in pain.
“The two of you, go inside and change for Miss and then apply some medicine on her.” Mo Huawen’s expression had never been so dark.
The two maids did not say anything else and helped Mo Xuetong out.
All the guests were shaking their heads. Once they entered the room, it was their family matter. It would be impolite for them to keep watching!
Mo Huawen glared at Auntie Fang. His eyes were like dark murky water. Auntie Fang felt a chill go down her spine when she looked at the sharpness in his eyes. She took a few steps back and then hesitated. Where did the needles in the shirt come from? She had not put them in, how would she do something so obvious? The “Heavenly Silkworm Needles” would not be discovered so easily.
Mo Lan brought a tray over. There were more than a hundred needles of the same color on it that shone coldly.
“Old Sir, I have already taken the needles from the sleeves, collars, waist and the vest.” Mo Lan knelt before Mo Huawen and did not say anything else. However, her eyes revealed many of her emotions.
“How did you all wait on Third Miss? Why did no one come to report and why did you let Third Miss put on such clothing?” Mo Huawen was furious.