Volume 4, Chapter 10: Eastern Sea Swells Pacified

Yue Wenhan and Yue Qingyan exchanged looks. In a clear and bright voice, Yue Wenhan stated, “Regardless of how capable you all are, you are all under the control of us, brother and sister. Although His Imperial Highness, the Prince of Qi, does not fear the toxin, I presume that His Imperial Highness, the Prince of Qi, won’t allow His Imperial Highness, the Prince of Qing, to die here. When the time comes, even if His Imperial Highness, the Prince of Qi, is able to fortunately escape, His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Great Yong, will likely suspect that he used someone else to do his dirty work.”

Li Xian smiled sardonically. Even without this reason, he could not watch the Marquis of Eastern Sea, the Marquis’s son, and his third elder brother die here. Ignoring familial affection and morality, if the marquis father and son were to die, their formidable navy that was about to be obtained by Great Yong would immediately disintegrate. When the time came, the coastal regions will likely never know peace from pirate raids. Moreover, when attacking Southern Chu in the future, they needed a formidable naval commander. In naval combat, Great Yong was unlikely to have anyone surpassing the marquis and his son. In addition, the issue relating to the Prince of Qing had already been hit on the mark by Yue Wenhan. Li Xian knew that he could not take the Prince of Qing seriously, but the Prince of Qing was the highest ranking imperial prince of Great Yong and his elder brother. If he were to watch as the Prince of Qing died here, not only would the Prince of Qing’s subordinates not take things lying down, even the ranking ministers of the court would suspect that he had ulterior motives to harm an important minister of the state and an imperial prince of the imperial household. When the time came, he would be surrounded and attacked. Even the emperor would be unable to protect him. Even if he was not denounced and punished, his position as commander-in-chief would be handed over to another. When the time came, who would be capable of holding off Long Tingfei? Beyond all that, Lin’er was still on the island. Even if he was heartless and rejected righteousness, could he also have the heart to sacrifice the only child left behind by his first wife?

The more he thought, the more Li Xian became indignant. When had he ever been so humiliated? If someone dared to use hostages to threaten him, he normally would destroy the enemy and hostages together. However, this Yue family brother and sister had grasped his weakness, using hostages that he could not sacrifice. Li Xian could only continue smiling wryly. He could not help but think, Damned Jiang Zhe, if you did not have me attend this ritual, I would have arrived at your location long ago and not have to be caught in such a predicament. He cursed in his heart for some time.

Li Xian suddenly came to his senses with a start. Jiang Zhe knew of his arrival here. Moreover, Jiang Zhe’s beloved daughter, Roulan, was also on the island. Jiang Zhe had additionally dispatched a messenger to inform him that something would happen during the wedding banquet. Now that something had happened as expected, then surely Jiang Zhe had made preparations. Thinking of this, Li Xian’s mind calmed somewhat. He silently prayed, Jiang Zhe, Sir Jiang, good brother-in-law, I don’t ask for anything, just quickly and fully display your methods to settle the Yue family’s brother and sister.

Almost as if the Heavens were responding to Li Xian’s prayer, someone calmly stated, “Young Family Head Yue, Miss Yue, there is no need for the two of you to continue your farce. Before the wedding banquet began, I, Lu Can, received news that your esteemed father and the several managers of the Yue family have already been rescued.”

Yue Wenhan and Yue Qingyan simultaneously cried out in surprise, “What? How is this possible?”

Li Xian was overjoyed, turning his head to look. The expression on his face froze. The one who had spoken was Southern Chu’s grand general, Lu Can. Although anyone could hypothetically resolve this impasse, Li Xian had zero expectations that it would be Lu Can who acted. Although, he understood that this Lu Can was a disciple of Jiang Zhe’s, hadn’t Jiang Zhe already become implacable enemies with Southern Chu? Having been attacked by an assassin and taking a princess of Great Yong as a bride meant that Jiang Zhe had no way of ever serving Southern Chu.

Lu Can had a tranquil expression on his face, almost as if he had spoken something totally ordinary. Glancing at the precipitously changing expression on Yue Wujiu’s face, Lu Can stated, “I truly respect Manager Yue’s scheming, exploiting Miss Yue’s feeling of uselessness and desire to help her elder brother to entice her to nurture the Heart Toxin Insect. Afterwards, you pressed closely, forcing the Miss to take action to kill several of your trusted subordinates. When the time came, with the Miss having nurtured the Heart Toxin Insect and having blackmail material on the Miss for murdering several members of the Yue family, you originally could have forced the Young Family Head to renounce his future position as Family Head. It is a pity that Manager Yue was too extreme. You yourself are cold and ruthless, believing that others will be the same. As a result, in order to prevent the Young Family Head from one day making a comeback, you sought to eradicate all those Yue family members loyal to the Family Head. However, if you were to act in such a manner, not only wouldn’t those family members be unwilling to wait for death, even those supporting your succession would not allow a situation where you monopolize power. As a result, you came to the difficult decision to purge the Yue family. You would rather weaken the Yue family than allow anyone the ability to contest its authority with you. An initially simple contest within the Yue family was actually transformed into a conspiracy affecting the entire world. Speaking of all this, I have no choice but to admire you.”

Lu Can’s words were somewhat filled with ridicule. Gazing upon Yue Wujiu’s already ashen face, Lu Can continued, “Manager Yue has truly arranged a good spectacle, imprisoning the Family Head and all of the other elders of the Yue family, then forcing the Young Family Head and the Miss to follow your plan and perform this play. After news of this incident is spread, everyone will learn that the Young Family Head of the Yue family dared to violate the prohibition and incite Yue Qingyan to raise the forbidden Heart Toxin Insect. Beyond murdering one’s own clansmen, Yue Wenhan would actually attempt to willfully slaughter innocents in order to obtain a ship design and some sea maps. Those unfortunate victims would include the Great Yong’s Prince of Qing, Li Kang, and the Prince of Qi, Li Xian; Southern Chu’s Lu Can; the Marquis of the Eastern Sea and his son; and Hai Zhongying and his nephew. Ultimately, the Yue Family Head would be forced to execute his son and daughter in order to apologize to the world. From henceforth, affairs of the Yue family would fall into Manager’s hands. With the Eastern Sea disintegrated into disparate factions and the Hai family exterminated, the Yue family would be able to seize control of the ocean trade, submitting to Southern Chu. This would leave both you and the one inciting matters behind the scenes perfectly satisfied by this result. It is only a pity for those ghosts of those who died unjustly.”

Yue Wujiu felt as if he was buried in an ice cave. This plan had been painstakingly prepared by himself and the head of the North Star Hall. The only ones who knew the entirety of this plan were the two of them. How was this youth, whom he had to kill, so familiar1 with all this? This man was a part of a separate faction within Southern Chu. Could it be that he had fallen into a trap? He could not help but yell out, “Qingyan, kill him! It is impossible for the Family Head to escape. Do not believe his words!”

Yue Qingyan was at a loss. Stunned, she asked, “Is this true? Manager? Didn’t you agree that if we obeyed, you would let off my father and elder brother after I died? Have you really decided to massacre my entire family beforehand?”

Hearing all this, Yue Wenhan’s expression shifted. He icily stated, “Yue Wujiu! Didn’t you agree that once I committed suicide to atone for my crimes, you wouldn’t harm my father, all of the family elders, and Qingyan? So you actually intended to exterminate all of us! To think that Qingyan and I actually desired to acquire the ship design and sea maps to ensure that our Yue family would be unchallenged even if we die … Who could have thought that you would completely betray our family!”

An awkward look flashed across Yue Wujiu’s face, as he replied, “This man is only talking nonsense. Right now, Qingyan’s affair is already known to all of them. If you don’t want her to be immolated, you must silence and kill everyone here, otherwise it will be impossible to protect Qingyan even if we wanted to.”

Yue Wenhan coolly said, “Manager, you have lost your way. There are already differences between your promises to Qingyan and I. Compared to Grand General Lu, there is no need to guess who we will believe. Fine … I have already seen the vicious and merciless methods of your partners. Destroying root and branch was originally the iron rule of the jianghu. It is we, brother and sister, who have been too naïve, believing that you would remember the Yue family’s progenitor. Unfortunately, we have run into a turncoat who has completely forgotten one’s roots.”2

Yue Wenhan gently grasped onto his sister’s hands. Sadly, he stated, “Qingyan, it will be impossible for this brother of yours to continue to protect you. There is no need for you to worry. Regardless of life or death, brother will accompany you. I will take all of the responsibility for the mistake that you have made.”

He aloofly stared at Lu Can, stating, “General Lu, my sister is young and ignorant, and was instigated by another. If General Lu has truly rescued my father and my seniors, then we, brother and sister, are willing to accept death. However, General Lu must also accept some of Wenhan’s conditions, as we will not go to our deaths for nothing.”

Yue Wujiu furiously shouted, “Lu Can! How did you learn of this matter? Is he conspiring with you, scheming to acquire the Yue family?”

His words were more useful than the coaxing words that he had spoken to the brother and sister. A questioning look appeared on Yue Wenhan’s face. He knew that the one conspiring with Yue Wujiu was influential in Southern Chu. Moreover, what Yue Wujiu said was true. Lu Can knew too much. If Lu Can were deliberately defeating both opposing factions within the Yue family and seizing control of the Yue family’s shipping, then this would be of benefit to Southern Chu.

Yue Wenhan’s suspicious gaze caused Lu Can to smile wryly. Lu Can replied, “Manager’s ability to make bogus accusations3 is truly formidable. I am aware of all this because of one individual, my respected master, Jiang Zhe, Sir Jiang. He sent me a letter a month ago, warning me that someone was conspiring to seize the opportunity of my journey here to harm me. If you two, brother and sister, desire to learn how I learned these things, it is best to think of a way to ask Sir Jiang.”

Hearing this, Li Xian scolded, “Sure enough, this is him playing games! However, Lu Can, why did he go to seek your help? What is going on? Don’t tell me that he has forgotten that Southern Chu has many people who seek to kill him?”

“Your Imperial Highness, I truly wish that my master can return to Southern Chu,” answered Lu Can, smiling softly. “Unfortunately, I’m afraid that my master will never have any engagements with Southern Chu ever again. However, with regards to the location of the Yue family hostages, it was inconvenient for anyone else to make a move. In addition, it is likely that master still takes me, this disciple, into consideration, not wishing to see me be harmed by another.” In his head, Lu Can thought, Surely, I can’t tell you that the hostages from the Yue family have been placed under house arrest in the Royal Guard encampments in Jianye.

Yue Wenhan’s gaze was still filled with hesitation. Regardless of how he hated Yue Wujiu, he was still worried about his father and his elders. However, there was one thing that he understood clearly. Even if Yue Wujiu ultimately won, his hands were also stained with the blood of the Yue family. If this man were permitted to control the Yue family, then Yue Wenhan knew that his sins would never be pardoned. After thinking it over, Yue Wenhan suddenly saw the light. Regardless of how much truth was in Lu Can’s words, his father was likely already in Lu Can’s hands. If that were the case, then even if he and his sister were willing to die, the best course forward was to see how to gain the biggest benefits for the Yue family. Regardless of his actions going forward, he could not injure the Marquis of the Eastern Sea and his son. After all, only they shared the same interests with the Yue family.

Thinking of this, Yue Wenhan smiled and said, “Qingyan, since things have turned out like this, there is no need for us to betray our intentions. First, have Haitao regain consciousness.”

Qingyan nodded her head gently, shame and guilt appearing in her eyes. Whatever the case, Jiang Haitao was her husband. Jiang Haitao, lying on the ground, let out a low moan. However, he quickly regained consciousness. Waking up, he immediately grasped his precious sword. However, he did not attack the brother and sister. After all, he wasn’t reckless.

“Young Family Head Yue, you need to remember one thing,” stated Lu Can with a faint smile. “Although it is impossible to save someone afflicted with the Heart Toxin Insect, it is not impossible to expel it from one’s body. In the final years of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, after the Heart Toxin Insect had created countless tragedies, all of the famous doctors of the world began to study how to cure it. His Imperial Highness, the Prince of Qi, has the Evil Warding Lavender Jade Pendant bestowed by the Heavens, ensuring that His Imperial Highness was protected from being harmed by the Heart Toxin Insect. The Sea of Bitterness Bodhi has the same effect. However, there is also a secret recipe to manufacture a spice bag. Those wearing it will not be harmed by the poison. Although the effects do not last long, if it were a rich and powerful family, it would be easy to produce them in sufficient quantity.” Finished speaking, Lu Can took out a spice bag from his bosom. Although she was far away, Yue Qingyan frowned, retreating several steps.

The Marquis of the Eastern Sea’s expression changed. “General Lu, was this also given to you by Sir Jiang?”

Hearing this, everyone understood that he had gotten suspicious. If Jiang Zhe had not told him any of this, it would inevitably be somewhat excessive.

“I wish that I could say that was the case, but unfortunately I cannot,” replied Lu Can with a wry smile. “I did not know beforehand that Miss Yue would use her mastery of the Heart Toxin Insect to control everyone. Some of what I just said came from Sir’s information, while others are from my conjectures. Although this prescription is hard to create, it isn’t a difficult matter for everyone present here. It is only that the Heart Toxin Insect has disappeared for many years, causing no one to be prepared. This spice bag originally belonged to Fu daren. In my youth, I was naughty and mischievous, learning how to pickpocket. Fu daren was too tense. Before leaving the ship, he subconsciously touched the spice bag several times. As a result, I immediately stole it once I entered the wedding hall. Just now, hearing about the Heart Toxin Insect, I truly feel that my luck is indeed great.”

To everyone present, Southern Chu’s deputy envoy, Fu Yulun, was a nobody. As a result, no one had paid him much attention. At this moment, however, everyone could see that he had already been collapsed onto his chair, paralyzed, for some time now. Originally, everyone dismissed him as a useless scholar and did not take notice of him. Hearing Lu Can’s words, they finally discovered that Fu Yulun’s acupoints had been sealed, his eyes wide open and filled with terror.

Lu Can brought the spice bag to his nose and took a whiff. Smiling, he asked rhetorically, “Fu daren, you were probably planning on delivering my corpse in a coffin back to Southern Chu, correct? Unfortunately, I cannot allow your wish to be fulfilled. Young Family Head Yue, there are at least two individuals on your kill list who will not die at your hands. As long as the two of us are able to leave alive, then the Yue family’s fate will be determined. For the sake of the Yue family, I believe that the two of you will make the best decision.”

Yue Wenhan sighed and replied, “Fine … The Yue family has performed many unjust acts. No wonder we have fallen into today’s predicament. The Yue family falling into General’s hands is better than falling into others’. Qingyan, retract the toxin. There is no need for us to continue to be someone else’s catspaw.”

Yue Qingyan voiced her agreement, retracting the poison. All those who had fainted gradually regained consciousness.

Yue Wujiu’s complexion was the color of ash. At this moment, there was only one thought in his mind. Why had those people not appeared? If those people were here, he would have the strength to capture everyone here in one swoop. Wenhan and Qingyan would be forced to obey his instructions. Yue Wujiu began to move backwards, seeking to rendezvous with his helpers.

At this moment, a beautiful married woman walked out from the rear hall. In her hand was a sword that had traces of blood upon its edges. Gazing at Yue Wujiu, she callously stated, “Manager, there is no need for you to remain deluded and seek to meet with them. I have already killed all of the inside agents that they have arranged with the matrons of honor and maids. Right now, they do not yet know that you have failed. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to meet them again after they have been captured.”

Gazing upon this woman, Yue Wujiu agonizingly voiced, “Lady Xue, the Head of the Fengwu Hall claimed that you are one of them. Why would you betray them?”

With a cold and calm expression, Lady Xue replied, “That’s right, I was one of them before. However, they have forgotten that I cut off all ties with them long ago. Correct, they have said that they can preserve my husband’s life and have promised that they will ensure that I become his formal wife. However, I married an indomitable4 man, not a puppet eking out an ignoble existence. Yue Wujiu, there is no need to feel aggrieved by your failure. They never had the intentions of handing the entirety of the Yue family to you. They promised to preserve my husband’s life for the sake of finding an opportunity to eliminate you.”

“I clearly made preparations long ago when I began to conspire with those so ferocious,” said Yue Wujiu bitterly. “I would definitely have ensured that they would be unable to control the Yue family. As long as I can preserve the Yue family’s foundation and obtain the Hai family’s secrets, then the Yue family can soon monopolize the ocean. As far as I’m concerned, the assets that they wish to control are insignificant. Lady Xue, are you truly unafraid that I will reveal your past to everyone? What face does a woman who was deserted by her husband, a woman who wished to poison to death her husband’s children, have to stand at Wenhan’s side?”

Her expression unchanging, Lady Xue indifferently replied, “I was already punished for the mistake that I made in the past. Moreover, my husband has long known of these things. It is impossibly stupid that you would seek to use this to threaten me.”

Yue Wujiu turned to look at Yue Wenhan. Seeing the serene expression on his nephew’s face, Yue Wujiu could not help but exclaim, “So your estrangement was fake!”

Yue Wenhan icily declared, “No, we have not been able to reach a state. During this period, Xue Qiuxue and I have truly had our differences.”

The look on his face calming greatly, Yue Wujiu inquired, “Presumably, the outside help was all you, Lady Xue, acting on your own initiative without Wenhan’s consent?”

Lady Xue did not reply, a hint of melancholy within her brows. Yue Wenhan stated, “Manager truly understands me like the back of my hand. That’s correct, Qiuxue concealed from me that she wrote a letter to her former husband. This is why I cannot forgive her.”

Yue Wujiu could not help but smile bitterly, stating, “So that’s why … Lady Xue is worthy of being a disciple of the Fengyi Sect, thinking of such a circuitous method to ask for help. Lady’s former husband, General Pei, is now a trusted general of the Yong Emperor, overseeing the lands north of the Yangtze River and waiting for the Emperor’s order. His presence has caused the entirety of Southern Chu to be filled with worry and fear, not daring to make any untoward moves. Moreover, I have heard that after the coup d’état instigated by the Fengyi Sect, if he had not petitioned the Emperor on his sickbed to plea for leniency on your esteemed father’s behalf, it is likely that your esteemed father’s position would have been lost. Unfortunately, I have always thought a woman would be narrow-minded. Who could have thought that Lady Xue was actually willing to ask him for help? If he had received the letter, learning that the Yue family was going to act against the Eastern Sea, it is natural that he would make preparations. However, why does it seem to me that the Eastern Sea seems to be unaware of all this?”

At this moment, Lady Xue could only smile wryly. Since she arrived at the Eastern Sea, she had spent every day hoping that someone would get in contact with her. However, no one had come. If she had not met Roulan and Jiang Zhe’s personal guard, Demonic Shadow Li Shun, today, she would likely have fallen apart before the traditional wedding ceremonies had even begun.

The Prince of Qi mumbled to himself, “Could it be that Suiyun was making everything unnecessarily complicated again?”

Just then, a refined voice as cold as ice came from outside, “Your Imperial Highness, you must not wrongly accuse my young master. Lady Xue’s letter arrived too late. When he learned what was happening, General Pei immediately reported it to the Emperor. The Emperor thought of a way to communicate all of this to the young master. However, there was only half a month until the little Marquis’s wedding. Moreover, the Marquis would likely not have dared to believe the accusations of the Yue family’s evil intent without good reason. Furthermore, Lady Xue’s letter was not particularly detailed. Miss Yue’s methods were not written clearly. As a result, my young master could only send a letter asking General Lu to save the Family Head of the Yue family, taking drastic measures to deal with the situation.5 As long as Miss Yue was no longer threatened, then everything could be resolved. This is all because the remnants of the Fengyi Sect and Manager Yue were too greedy, seeking to obtain both the Eastern Sea and the Yue family, and also deal with the Prince of Qing and General Lu. This insatiable greed6 has led to this reversal. Were it not for their desire to deal with General Lu, it would have been impossible for my young master to resolve all of this.”

Everyone lifted their heads and looked over. Standing at the door was a young man in azure robes. His features were delicate, handsome, and feminine. He had a tranquil and calm countenance. His sinister and feminine bearing was proud and aloof, almost as if he had accumulated the spring snow—although ice-cold, it could thaw at any moment to become clear and clean snow water that could go anywhere.

Yue Wujiu was already completely downhearted. A single name appeared within his mind. He blurted out, “Demonic Shadow Li Shun!” Just as he spoke, the young man in azure robes pointed into the air. Yue Wujiu felt his four limbs grow limb, as he collapsed to the ground. He gasped with surprise in his mind at his acupoints being sealed from a distance. In despair, he closed his eyes.

The young man in azure smiled slightly and stated, “That is indeed who I am. Manager Yue, just now, this one has already paid a visit to the ship that delivered the bride. Fortunately, the Marquis had the foresight and had once given this one the authority to mobilize the Eastern Sea’s troops. As a result, this one mobilized three warships and over a thousand soldiers, capturing everyone aboard the Yue family’s ship. Of course, unfortunately, the remnants of the Fengyi Sect were truly crafty and cunning, actually disembarking at an early time. However, this is an island in the middle of the ocean. It may be assumed that they are still on this island.”

Li Xian smiled. “Xiaoshunzi, I don’t believe that your master has placed all of the hopes upon someone else. Quickly speak! What is his trump card?”

Bowing, Li Shun replied, “Your Imperial Highness understands clearly. My young master would naturally not dare to be careless. With so many people’s lives at stake, young master said since everything relies upon Miss Yue to act, then it likely won’t come down to martial arts. The likeliest outcome was poison. If it is an ordinary poison, one only need be careful. It will be enough to ensure that Miss Yue does not have the chance to do so. But the young master also said that it is extremely difficult to control poison. In addition, the Yue family does not have the custom of using poison. Therefore, young master thought of witchcraft or the toxins of venomous insects. The young master ordered this one to bring some medicines and items capable of warding off evil. However, the young master did not expect that Miss Yue would actually employ the Heart Toxin Insect. It is likely that the medication that this one has brought to expel venomous insects will not be that effective. As for the trump card …”

Li Shun paused momentarily before taking out a small, exquisite circular cylinder. He continued, “This can shoot out the flame of the Divine Heavens-Soaring Flame. It can shoot three times. The gunpowder within is meticulously mixed. Once lit, it is impossible to extinguish. The young master said that regardless of poison or witchcraft, there will be nothing left once burned. This will be quite effective.” Finished speaking, Li Shun pointed the cylinder at a chair within the wedding hall. He gently activated the mechanism on the cylinder. As expected, a white flame shot out. That chair very swiftly disappeared into smoke under the fire, not even leaving ash behind. What was even more unusual was that nothing happened to another chair that was within a meter or so of the burnt chair. Seeing this, everyone could not help but feel their hearts leap into their throats, secretly commenting on the lethality of the flame. All of them were of noble statuses, knowing many things that were unknown to the general public. The Heart Toxin Insect was eradicated years ago by being burned by a raging inferno. Fire had always been the nemesis of venomous insects. Today, the only reason that Qingyan had been able to seize the advantage was because no one had made any preparations.

Gazing at Li Shun’s elegant features, Lin Tong felt fear well up from deep within. She whispered, “Elder sister, the Demonic Shadow is already so frightening.… Presumably his master is even more so.”

Lin Bi forced herself to smile, as she thought, If I had known that Li Shun was not at Jiang Zhe’s side, I would have thought of a way to find Jiang Zhe’s whereabouts long ago and had him killed.

Li Shun continued, “Your Lordship, the matters outside still need to be handled. It is inconvenient for this one to do so. Your Lordship, please take charge.”

Jiang Yong gazed deeply at Li Shun. In his mind, he thought, I have always respected Jiang Zhe because he saved my son’s life. Only today was I able to see his sharp edge. It seems that, as expected, I can no longer continue to be Great Yong’s enemy, otherwise my son and I will lose our lives at his hands.

In a loud voice, he commanded, “Tao’er, go placate and console all of the guests. Simply state that the Manager of the Yue family attempted to seize control and that he has already been captured.”

He glanced at Yue Qingyan, somewhat hesitating. Everyone in the world knew that his beloved son was getting married. If everything was thrown out, wouldn’t it garner the world’s ridicule? However, Yue Qingyan had the Heart Toxin Insect within her body. Not only was her life at risk, moreover, with this girl’s loyalty to the Yue family, even if she were to be married over, it was likely that there would be problems.

As Jiang Yong was hesitating, Li Xian quick-wittedly smiled and stated, “Qingyan, come over here. Since you have already been married to Haitao, you are my niece-in-law. Sixth uncle does not have an appropriate gift upon our first meeting. As such, I will give this lavender jade to you.” So speaking, he untied the purple jade and shoved it into Yue Qingyan’s hands, who had come over with her head lowered. Yue Qingyan was dumbfounded, her luminous face revealing an incredulous and bewildered look.

“Qingyan, although I do not understand anything about venomous insects, at the very least, this lavender jade should be able to suppress the Heart Toxin Insect within your body for a period of time,” said Li Xian in a calm tone. “Even if it cannot, this is also a gift that I have given to my niece-in-law. Although you are somewhat confused, I have taken a liking to your temperament. For your elder brother, child, you developed such a method that harms others and yourself. I believe that although you did not know of the harm of the Heart Toxin Insect, at the very least, this Prince does not have the courage to use my own blood to feed the insect king. Hearing your words just now, child, you were actually thinking about using your life to save your father and elder brother. In the past, you obeyed your father. As such, this Prince will not speak of your faults. However, you are already a daughter-in-law of the Jiang family. Having been married, you must obey your husband. From now on, you must not act on your own initiative. Although this nephew of mine is a bit simple, he understands love and hate. In the future, you must play the traditional roles of the wife, scrupulously abiding by the proper conduct of a wife. Understand?”

Holding back tears with difficulty, Yue Qingyan asked in a whisper, “Qingyan does not yet know father-in-law and husband’s intentions?”

Li Xian glanced at Jiang Yong and Jiang Haitao. Jiang Yong thought to himself, This daughter-in-law has a tough and strong temperament. If she is properly instructed, she will definitely be a good wife to Tao’er and ensure that Tao’er does not flounder in officialdom in the future. However, is it even possible to expel the venomous insect from her body? After thinking it over, he could not bring himself to reject Li Xian’s face and also unwilling to cause his wife to feel sorrow. Thus, he said, “Since the rites have already been performed, I will naturally acknowledge this daughter-in-law.”

In comparison, Jiang Haitao had an unsophisticated temper. Earlier, he hated that he was unable to kill Yue Qingyan. However, now, blushing, he stated, “I leave the decision to Father and sixth uncle.”

Laughing brightly, Li Xian replied, “All right! Lady Xue, first escort Qingyan to the bridal chamber. Yue Wenhan, go with Haitao to take care of the aftermath outside. As for everything else, it’s not my concern. Finally, although everything has been pacified for now, everyone should still remain careful. The remnants of the Fengyi Sect have not yet been found. As for the matter involving the Yue family, Lu Can, what do you say?”

“The Yue family naturally is still Southern Chu’s Yue family,” spoke Lu Can placidly. “Our Southern Chu’s ocean trade still relies upon the Yue family. However, the Hai family should not mind and continue to cooperate with Southern Chu, correct?”

The Marquis of the Eastern Sea and Li Xian exchanged meaningful glances. The current family head of the Yue family was still in Lu Can’s hands. Jiang Yong smiled and said, “General Lu, there is no need to worry. As long as there’re business opportunities, the Hai family will definitely not refuse.”

“Good!” replied Li Xian, clapping his hands. “Let’s quickly reset the banquet and leave the affairs outside for Haitao to handle. We still need to drink a couple of cups! After all, today is a day of celebration!”

Hearing Li Xian’s words, everyone reacted differently. The Marquis of the Eastern Sea and company could only smile wryly and obey. After all, the pressure from the Prince of Qi’s awe-inspiring authority was quite substantial. Since regaining consciousness, the Prince of Qing’s face had remained ashen without speaking or making a sound. Gou Lian was quite fortunate and had always stood on the side as a bystander. Moreover, he did not have the qualifications to interject. Lu Can only smiled slightly. To his side, Fu Yulun gazed cautiously and solemnly at Lu Can, his expression extremely tense. A wry smile was on Lin Bi’s face, while Lin Tong was gazing with curiosity at Li Shun. He was someone who she had long heard about.

Footnotes:

如数家珍, rushujiazhen – idiom, lit. as if enumerating one’s family valuables; fig. to be very familiar with a matter
数典忘祖, shudianwangzu – idiom, lit. to recount history but omit one’s ancestors; fig. to forget one’s roots
倒打一耙, daodayipa – idiom, lit. to strike with a muckrack (referring to the weapon used by Zhu Bajie (猪八戒) from Journey to West (西游记)); fig. to counterattack, to make bogus accusations (against one’s victims)
顶天立地, dingtianlidi – idiom, lit. able to support both heaven and earth; fig. indomitable
釜底抽薪, fudichouxin – idiom, lit. take away the firewood from under the cauldron; fig. taking drastic measures to deal with a situation
贪心不足, tanxinbuzu – idiom, lit. greedy and never satisfied; fig. insatiable greed

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