It Was You
translated by Grenn
This was the first time she came face to face with her “cheap husband” ever since she transmigrated in this world, but what with this situation?! So to speak, her husband wasn’t that handsome. He had thick eyebrows, small eyes, thin lips and very tanned. Yet, just by standing there, he exuded a temperament unique to soldiers who had been forged by death and blood. That kind of aura enhanced his imperfect facial traits, giving him a harmonious appearance. He had a charisma that made one sighs and thinks “Ah! This is how a man should be”.
The difficulty of her task had suddenly upgrade, but even if it was nightmare difficulty with the chance of being dismembered by horses as a bad ending, she still had to proceed on.
“An Yiqing, are you done being noisy?” Mo Yange’s gloomy overcast expression turned icy like black clouds rolling. “You think I can’t punish you? Even if father-in-law and mother-in-law were still alive today, I will still punish you and help them discipline an unruly daughter! Servants!”
The soldiers behind him immediately responded. “Yes, your Highness!”
“Drag her out and cane her 20 times!”
Butler Mo An’s expression changed as he rushed to stop them without thinking. “Your Highness, how about asking for the situation first before taking a decision?”
“What’s there to ask?” Mo Yange frowned. “Mo An, you should know how she is that’s why she was kept in Fragrant Garden to reflect on her behavior. However, she beat up Fu Xu for no reason. It is as clear as day her nature is hard to change. Today, I must discipline a vicious wife like her. If she still doesn’t show any repentance, it’s better if she is beaten to death!”
He waved his hand and two soldiers stepped forward. One of them grabbed her hands and locked them behind her. Soon, the other came back with a long bench and two long sticks. Mu Wanqing tried to struggle but without success. They overwhelmed her in strength and pressed her face down on the bench. Another two stood to each side with a stick in hand, waiting for Mo Yange’s command.
“Your Highness is wise and brilliant!” Fu Xu was gleeful as such sight and promptly praised his master. Then, he saw Mo An and Qin Huaiyang glaring at him. He shrank back at once and became mute.
Xu’er gave her all to stop the guards by pulling back their hands. “Your Highness, it wasn’t Princess’ fault. It was my fault. Beat me instead of the princess!” She sobbed.
“Xu’er, don’t meddle in it!” This was the first time in her life she ever encountered that kind of situation. It would be a lie to say she wasn’t scared. However, when she saw Mo Yange’s unfairness when he ordered that abusive punishment, it only stimulated the unmanned fire in her heart, and she refused to bow down to him out of pride. She kept her head high with arrogance and stared at him unwaveringly, a smirk spread on her face. “Mo Yange, I thought a commander who had under him three armies would be exceedingly wise and farsight, fair in his treatment of people. It appears that I overestimate you. You can only be described as obstinate and self-opinionated, a stupid and ruthless minor official on a power trip!”
A forced smile filled with anger showed on his face. “So, according to you, you didn’t beat my butler for no reason?”
While he spoke, the guards started to execute their orders. The canes fell on her back with heaviness, making her feel as if they had split her back, and a searing pain spread through her.
The scene caused Mo An to feel distressed for her. Despite finding her annoying with her antics and being pissed by her escape every day, he still shouted out, “Your Highness, her Ladyship is a weak woman. How can she withstand such heavy punishment? Let a servant carries out the punishment.”
Uncle Butler, you are a really good person! His words of defense moved her to tears. Mo Yange, you big shit! You deserve to be dismembered, hacked into mincemeat and feed to the dogs!
Mo Yange gestured. The guards stopped their movements midway; the canes halted in midair.
“An Yiqing, do you acknowledge your fault?” He spat out the question coldly.
“No way!” Despite the searing pain on her back and her mind vacillating to unconsciousness, her stubbornness kept her heart from softening under his coercion. She had nothing else in her, except her unyielding character. She refused to admit to something she was not at fault. Her Chinese teacher would be proud of her. She put into action what a person who is not corrupted by wealth and fame, kept his integrity despite adversity and doesn’t deviate from his goal in hardship should be! Okay, fine, she would admit defeat only under Jiang Xiaofan’s damned eloquence.
Mo Yange gritted his teeth. “Continue to beat her!”
The punishment resumed, and a cane landed on her back again. She let out a painful shout, but she immediately shut her mouth. After a moment, she let out intermittent rasping words. “Mo Yange… I-if one day, someone… beat your s-soldiers… for no reason and… accused them falsely of murders and arson and selling information to the enemies… Can you tolerate it? Oh, never mind… You are a high and mighty prince… The life and death of no-name soldiers must be of no importance. Perhaps, this… situation is insignificant to you!”
“What are you trying to say?”
“What? Prince Mo can’t understand m-my words?!” She sneered at him, letting out a mocking laugh which tore her wounds further. Her laugh almost turned into a cry, but she restrained herself.
Mo Yange had long abhorred this wife of his, so when Xu Fu came to him with a beat-up face, it didn’t take much for his anger to flare up. It wasn’t in his plan to even listen to her side of the story, so when this point was brought up, he tried to calm down and inquired, “Are you saying you didn’t beat someone without a reason?”
“If you’re talking about the senseless beating, then may I ask what is your esteemed Highness doing right now?”
Mo Yange was never someone who shined in a battle of words, so her question had stumped him. His expression was full of anger, but he could not rebuke her. At that moment, Xu’er had kneeled on the ground while crying. She kowtowed with the energy of desperation, loudly knocking her forehead on the hard ground while pleading repetitively for her master. “Your Highness is the brightest! Earlier, Butler Xu Fu said to this lowly servant that I better obediently submit to him or he will make things hard for me in this mansion. Not only that, he said, he will expel me from here. However, I refused him which caused him to hate me. In order to have his revenge, he plotted against me. Her Ladyship pitied me and beat him. Your Highness, everything is my fault and has nothing to do with her Ladyship. If you need to cane someone, please cane me. Don’t hurt the Princess anymore!”
“Don’t speak nonsense!” Fu Xu screamed. Then, he turned around and kowtowed in front of Mo Yange. “Your Highness is the brightest! This girl is a thief; She stole money from the mansion. This humble servant had searched her room with others before trying to arrest her. I believe I have handled the matter according to the rules. When her evil deed was exposed, she turned around to frame this humble servant. Your Highness must not be deceived by her words!”
Mo Yange frowned. Both sides gave him food for thoughts, and he could not differentiate the truth from the false yet. He gestured at the guards to stop the punishment.
Regardless of her sufferings, she forced herself to refute Xu Fu. “Earlier, I heard with my own ears how you threatened Xu’er after she refused you. You said you will drive her out of the mansion and watch how she will find money to take care of her sick mother.”
“This humble servant had never uttered such words!” Fu Xu argued vehemently as he knocked his head on the ground. “At that time, there were other servants with me. They can prove my words!”
As soon as they heard Fu Xu, the servants that came with him immediately voiced their support. “That’s right! Butler Xu didn’t say anything like that! This servant can serve as a witness. He did everything according to the rules. He was also very respectful to her Ladyship, but no one expected she would hit him for no apparent reason. Your Highness must give us fairness!”
“Y-you-” Xu’er cried out as she looked at those detestable people invert black and white. She put up her fingers to swear to the gods. “Your Highness, I, this lowly servant, dares to swear on my life that her Ladyship’s words are all true! In addition, at that time, Butler Xu held the princess in contempt and slapped me which made her Ladyship angry. This was the reason why the princess hit him!”
The contradictory testimonies gave Mo Yange a headache. He might be a general, but he was no expert in handling household affairs.
Qin Huaiyang and Mo An frowned as they pondered over everyone statements.
“Hmph! If only I knew earlier that you were a bunch of snakes and rats who protect each other…” She mocked them a moment then groaned the next. “Do you really think you can win with that kind of trick? Lying with a straight face. Have you ever heard of the saying, even if people can’t see, heaven will see it! You might not want to confess, but it doesn’t matter. I can prove who is innocent and who is a liar!” She turned to Mo Yange and said, “Your esteemed Highness, if I can prove Xu Fu framed Xu’er, what will you do?”
Mo Yange declared without hesitation. “If you can prove it, I will not blindly protect him. For the crime of framing the innocent, it’s 50 canes and a whole year of salary for fine.”
“Wait.” She glared at him. “I got cane twice! Do I have to suffer in vain?”
When faced with her bright and clear eyes, he felt as if his heart skipped a beat for a moment. A frown appeared again. “What do you want?”
“If it’s proven that Xu Fu framed Xu’er, he deserved the beating I gave him. So, you caning me is unjust. Do you expect to be forgiven with only a few words of apologies after what I have endured?!” She used all her strength to get up, but the wounds on her back were so painful that it made her tear up and wanted to cry. However, she refused to be on the losing end. She was not one to let herself suffered in vain. “Another thing, you can’t house arrest me in Fragrant Garden.”
He raised an eyebrow and spoke in a low voice. “If I accused you wrongly, I will accept ten times the number of hit you received which is 20 canes!”
He did not believe an unruly, unreasonable and vicious woman like her could come up with a brilliant performance of wits.
“Don’t eat your words then!” It was a short sentence, but it was full of derision. The next moment, she looked at Mo An. “Butler Mo, do we have gold powder, a piece of thin fabric, cinnabar and a small brush? Help me bring them here.” Although Mo An had some doubt when he heard her request, he still left to fetch the items.
Yet, when the same words went into Mo Yange’s ears, it took another signification. Surprised, he let the words in his mind slipped. “It was you!”