Chapter 132 Prefer to die than to admit
Not a sound could be heard in the hall. Unconsciously, the concubines and maids even slowed down their breathing.
Old madam knew Gu Da’s temperament. Seeing him like this, she knew that Gu Da heard much of the dialogue between her and Lin shi. He wouldn’t give up if he didn’t get the truth out. It was useless to persuade, so, she didn’t open her mouth again.
- Shi: clan
Lin shi was flustered for a moment. Seeing that old madam didn’t speak, she felt more helpless. She only called, “Master…”
“Speak!” Gu Da approached as he looked at Lin shi.
Lin shi summoned her courage and asked, “What does master want me to say?”
Gu Da humped once, “Weren’t you worried that there was another motive behind Xitian’s death and was afraid that he would feel wronged in the nine springs? Quickly say what you know!”
- Nine springs: the underworld of Chinese mythology
Lin shi pushed the boat with the current and said, “I’ve only vaguely heard people mention about this matter, saying that Xiran and his wife were investigating this matter. Why doesn’t master ask Xiran’s wife directly?”
- Pushed the boat with the current: take advantage of the situation for one’s own benefit.
One sentence pushed the matter to Shu Huan. Anyway, no matter how the matter would turn out to be, Lin shi had made up her mind to not personally speak about this to avoid that she would lose the rice using the lure a chicken when trying to steal it if Gu Da and old madam get angry afterwards.
- Trying to steal a chicken only to end up losing the rice used to lure it: try to gain an advantage only to end up worse off.
Seeing that Gu Da’s gloomy eyes swept over her, Shu Huan lowered her head and said, “Answering master, I and second young master only returned yesterday and was unclear about eldest young master’s affair. We were deeply shocked and sad. When second young master remembered it, he would get sad. He had cried many times and fell ill. I was busy taking care of him all night. Why would we go think about investigating for no reason? I don’t know who vaguely told madam. Why don’t we ask that person? Probably that person was wrong.”
She didn’t lack astuteness. Since Lin shi didn’t want to talk about it, why should she? She directly denied it thoroughly. Could anyone come up with evidence that she was lying?
She didn’t expect that after these words, not mentioning that Gu Da forced Lin shi to call the person to ask, old madam looked once meaningfully at her. However, there was no accusation in her eyes, only deep thoughts.
When Lin shi was being questioned about the person who talked, she became helpless. She felt that there was a hidden motive why Plum Flower Pavilion would close its door to talk about things during daytime. That same night, she used both gentle methods and force to question Gu Xihe. How would she be willing to push out her own son? After she was silent for a while and when Gu Da couldn’t hold it in anymore and was about to flip out, she said with a bitter face, “It’s Plum Flower Pavilion’s Liangchen who told me. You can summon her to question.”
Hearing this name, Shu Huan didn’t show any unusualness on her face, but she felt a bitterness in her heart that she couldn’t speak about.
It turned out that whole Gu household was playing a good game of chess!
Huiyun was old madam’s eyes and ears and when Lin shi sent maids to her to let her choose, she presumably also had calculated to put a spy! Liangchen couldn’t be trusted, then what about Meijing? Was she also not to be trusted?!
Thinking about Meijing, the bitterness turned thicker. These past two months, she had been living with Meijing and had taken her as confidante. If Meijing was also not to be trusted, presumably, she couldn’t trust anyone else in the future!
She quietly raised her eyes and looked in the direction of old madam. She saw that old madam didn’t reveal any expression as if she (OM) had long became accustomed to these things like putting maids as spies. She felt that it was common and didn’t felt anything wrong with it.
Shu Huan could only sigh in secret.
Liangchen was just outside and arrived soon after.
Gu Da asked, “Talk! What did you tell madam?”
Liangchen didn’t panic. She only slightly avoided Shu Huan’s gaze and said, “Yesterday, this slave saw that the moment second young master and mistress came back, they closed the door and let the maids retreat. This slave doesn’t know what they were discussing in the room. This slave was afraid that something was up and reported to madam. Aside from that, this slave didn’t say anything else.”
She was telling the truth, but Lin shi intended to let her be the scapegoat; how would she (Lshi) let her off so easily? She immediately raised her eyes, stared at Liangchen and said, “Only that? Why do I remember that you reported to me that second young master and mistress were investigating eldest young master’s incident?”
Liangchen’s lowered eyelids trembled slightly, but her voice was still like usual, “Answering madam, this slave doesn’t remember telling you that. Presumably, madam remembered it wrongly.”
Lin shi thought that she (L) was alert, cautious and understanding. That was why she sent her to Plum Flower Pavilion as spy. Now seeing that she didn’t continue her (Lshi) words, she immediately got angry, gritted her teeth and said, “Liar!”
Liangchen answered, “This slave doesn’t dare!”
Lin shi still wanted to ask her trap questions, but Gu Da couldn’t wait any longer and yelled once, “Wicked slave! Are you waiting to be beaten before telling the truth?”
Liangchen was silent for a moment. Then, she knelt and said, “Master, investigate. This slave is telling the truth. If you want to beat this slave and this slave couldn’t take the pain, then this slave doesn’t know whether this slave would be full of nonsense.”
Any ordinary maid would’ve told everything after being scared like that. That Liangchen’s attitude was so determined was because she had a clear conscience or she had a profound scheming heart! Gu Da couldn’t judge that in a short amount of time, but he was anxious to know whether his eldest son had died from an accident or from a designed murder. How would he have the patience to continue this? He immediately shouted, “Servants, drag this maid down and beat her till she wants to talk!”
As he talked, he used gloomy eyes to look at Lin shi, hating her for still being so scrupulous at such a moment and refused to say the things clearly herself.
When the servants came in to drag Liangchen away, she didn’t shout nor cry. She only stood up and followed them outside as she accepted her fate. Finally, it was Shu Huan who sighed in her heart and stopped them, “Wait!”
“What?!” Gu Da looked at her with narrowed eyes and sneered, “You want to plead for this maid?”
“Not pleading, just telling the truth,” Shu Huan raised her voice a bit. “Yesterday, when Plum Flower Pavilion closed the door, the maids had been sent back to their rooms. Liangchen didn’t know what we had talked about; how could she tell madam that we were investigating about eldest young master’s incident? She is just a maid, what would she get from making such a big lie?”
Lin shi rushed to say, “Why would you close the door in broad daylight?”
Shu Huan replied fluently, “After second young master got such a great pain, he felt unwell and asked doctor Ji to check his pulse at Plum Flower Pavilion. Afraid that the maids would make a fuss out of nothing, go pass the message while exaggerating the illness and give old madam and master more worries, we closed the door and drove the maids out. If madam doesn’t believe, you can summon doctor Ji for a questioning.”
Lin shi wanted to say more when she suddenly heard someone call, “Madam!”
She turned and saw that it was Gu Xihe who came to pay his respects. He stood outside and looked at her. Her heart immediately got some uneasiness.
Gu Xihe had an impetuous temper. Last night, he only told her because he was forced. He didn’t expect that his mother would take this opportunity to cause trouble without care. He stepped inside and said, “Didn’t madam promise this son to not pass this matter to the outside? Now, why are you questioning second sister-in-law?”
Lin shi entangled with Shu Huan on this matter because she tried every means to let Gu Xihe not get involved in this matter. How could she had thought that he would say it directly? She panicked and almost went forward to cover his mouth. Who would’ve thought that Gu Da was faster than her? He rushed to Gu Xihe and shouted at him, “Worthless fool, what do you know? Are you still not telling quickly?!”
Gu Xihe pulled back his neck because of Gu Da’s yelling and muttered, “I will tell. Master doesn’t have to be so fierce. This son didn’t do anything wrong…”
Old madam also straightened her back and hurriedly shouted, “You are not allowed to frighten him! Quickly, come to my side!”
Gu Xihe rushed to old madam and went straight into her arms. He called once full of grievances, “Old madam…”
Old madam immediately called him her baby, making Shu Huan feel a bit corny. Goosebumps appeared all over her body. Gu Da was also helpless. He didn’t dare to disobey old madam. He could only put on a serious face, resisted his temper and waited for this pair of grandmother and grandson to finish being corny.