Chapter 138 Risking one’s life to protect
After Shu Huan came out of Pine Crane Hall and recalled everything that had happened, she was speechless and remained silent the whole way. Until when Plum Flower Pavilion was in front of her did she turn around and looked once at Meijing who followed behind her.
Gu Xiran knew what she was thinking about and unconsciously held her hand tighter.
Shu Huan made up her mind and finally said, “Meijing, I ask you…”
She hasn’t finished speaking yet when Meijing suddenly knelt in front of her. She looked up and said, “Second young mistress, this slave swore to the heavens that this slave had never done anything that would harm you. In the future, this slave will also not do something that would harm you! If I violate this oath, I will be struck…”
Shu Huan didn’t wait for her to finish when she pulled her up, smiled slightly and said, “I know.”
Her request was very simple. She only wanted a promise. Although, words usually don’t have much binding influence, but as long as Meijing was willing to say it, she was willing to believe her (M).
After seeing too much schemes, she simply hoped that people could be a bit more honest with each other and let the warmth stay in the heart. Otherwise, if the world was so cold (indifferent), what fun would it be to live if everyone was suspicious of each other? As for whether she would be betrayed or not in the future, she wasn’t sure about that. If such a thing truly happened, then, it’s the other person who has a problem with her/his character. She would not be saddened again for someone unworthy.
After Meijing was pulled up, she (M) looked at Liangchen who stood silently next to her with lowered head. She (M) didn’t know what to say.
Shu Huan lowered her eyes, thought for a while and said, “Liangchen.”
Liangchen’s voice was still the same as usual, “This slave is here.”
“You have to think well at this moment. Do you want to stay at my side as usual or do you want to return to madam’s?”
Liangchen was silent.
Shu Huan also didn’t urge her. She only raised her eyes and stared at her (L).
After a while, she said, “This slave prefers to follow second young mistress.”
She was a clever person. She had long known that as a slave, especially such one like her, usually would only be used as a chess piece. However, when playing chess, there was also the difference between having feelings and be completely indifferent. Lin shi gave up on the chess piece too easily. She was unscrupulous to achieve her purpose. On the other hand, the way Shu Huan treated Meijing was different. If she could choose, she would rather choose the latter.
Shu Huan nodded and said, “If you want to follow me, you have to know what kind of thing I can’t stand. Don’t test that bottom line, otherwise, it would be better for you to follow madam. Your days would be better then.”
Liangchen immediately answered, “This slave knows.”
Shu Huan didn’t say anything else and entered Plum Flower Pavilion with Gu Xiran.
In the past, she didn’t talk about such things with Liangchen and haven’t asked for her loyalty. Hence, she (SH) was also not in the position to blame her (L) for her previous betrayal. After all, she was a maid who didn’t have the freedom to act independently. She was someone who had been trained by Lin shi since the beginning. It was natural that she would be loyal to Lin shi. Now, that she had been abandoned by Lin shi and she had made her own choice, then, Shu Huan was also willing to give her another chance.
After all, there were really not many people in this household that could be trusted. Even if she takes in a few more new maids, one may know the person for a long time without understanding her true nature. How would she know who they are obeying behind her back? It was better to have Liangchen who she knew through and through. Even if she was betrayed once again, at least, she would know to whom. However, seeing how Liangchen faced Lin shi before, she (SH) knew that she (L) wasn’t someone who was foolishly loyal. She (L) wasn’t someone who would still be hell-bent on sacrificing herself after being sold out by the master. This point was in line with Shu Huan’s temper and she wouldn’t feel fed up looking at her (L).
After a troubling morning, it was already near noon. Shang Xin was already waiting for them to return. She immediately let people set up the table. Taking advantage of a nap, they closed the door of the room. The two finally got the opportunity to be alone.
Shu Huan closed the door, turned around and whispered, “My heart feels a bit uneasy.”
Gu Xiran raised an eyebrow, looked at her and asked, “Why?”
“I can’t tell,” Shu Huan blankly leaned on the side of the dressing table. She just grabbed a beaded flower from the jewelry box, played with it and said, “If I tell you, don’t laugh at me. I don’t know whether it is my intuition or not. After little third admitted it, I no longer feel that he is the culprit and felt that he was punished somewhat unjustly by old madam.”
Gu Xiran looked at her with great interest and asked, “There must be a reason why you would have such thoughts, right?”
Shu Huan thought for a moment, shook her head and said, “I really can’t tell. I feel that he confessed too quickly as if he couldn’t wait to shoulder this crime. He wouldn’t not know that if this crime was determined, that it would only lead to a road of ruin for him. Moreover, master only suspected him. Aside from the poisonous candy, he didn’t have any other proof. As long as he refused to admit it, he would only be subjected to a beating and wouldn’t reach the point of today.”
Gu Xiran smiled slightly and said, “Although, it is like that, but if he doesn’t admit it, Gu Xuan would be the biggest suspect.”
“Gu Xuan can also refuse to admit it. After all, no one saw her with their own eyes.”
“Then, it would all depend on how strong she is mentally and how great her bearing capacity is. At that time, master had already lost his reasoning. He wouldn’t carefully scrutinize and be gentle and reasonable. Presumably, he would use some forced and coercive means. No matter what the final result are, in the process of being forced, it was inevitable that she would suffer.”
After Shu Huan heard this, she bit her lips and stared at Gu Xiran. After a long while did she asked hesitantly, “Are their relationship of siblings really so good that little third was willing to give up his life to protect her…?”
“I don’t know about that,” Gu Xiran laughed bitterly and shook his head. “I only know that if little third isn’t innocent then, he must’ve colluded with Gu Xuan. In any case, Gu Xuan was definitely not innocent!”
Seeing that he was so sure, Shu Huan was a bit shocked.
Gu Xiran explained patiently, “Didn’t we deduct before that the poison inside the candy was not common? Even doctor Ji couldn’t immediately distinguish the ingredients inside of it. It was clear that to obtain this kind of poison was not an easy task. This was a premediated modus operandi. It was not like how little third said that he got dissatisfied with this matter on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, got the intention to kill and succeeded the next day. It was too easy, right?”
“Right!” Shu Huan suddenly thought of a point. “This poison was put inside before the candy was made…”
Gu Xiran laughed and said, “He certainly doesn’t know how to.”
Shu Huan sighed, “Then, there is only Gu Xuan.”
She had long heard that Gu Xuan’s needlework and cooking were excellent. She often made some small dessert to show her filial piety to old madam. Naturally, it was impossible to let someone else put poison inside of the candy. In this era, a gentleman should stay away from the kitchen. Then, the job of putting the poison inside the candy was definitely done by Gu Xuan.
The two exchanged a glance. Both of their gazes showed helplessness.
What could they do even if they know? Wash away the injustice for Gu Xiran? It happened that he decided to shoulder this crime himself. For this, he’d even completely fallen out with Gu Da. Even if he didn’t murder his brother, he couldn’t stay away from the crime of being unfilial and disobedient to the parents. If Gu Da wanted his life, he (GD) could get it rightly so. Moreover, even if they wanted to clarify for Gu Xiren, he may not be willing.
The feelings they had for Gu Xuan turned more and more complicated. She was a little girl who looked helpless, weak and who would provoke feelings of tenderness from people. However, it happened that her methods were cruel, and her thinking was so deep that people couldn’t see through of it. If they expose the matter, there was a sense of guilt of having pushed the weak into the pit of fire. If they don’t expose it, they obviously knew what kind of person she was and still indulged her without care. If by chance her purpose hasn’t been reached yet and she continues to harm people, then what?
Shu Huan was very hesitant, “Should we tell or not?”
Gu Xiran also felt headache about this. They didn’t know what old madam’s attitude was. If she preferred a grandson more, perhaps she would be satisfied if the culprit was another person. If an illegitimate grandson and granddaughter weighted the same in her eyes, presumably, she would think that they were too meddlesome.
After being silent for a while, he suddenly remembered something and said, “Not good!”
Shu Huan wondered, “What again?”
Gu Xiran rubbed his temples and said, “I don’t know her motive for killing her brother, but since she did such a thing, there must be a reason why she hated Gu Xitian. It would be fine if her hate was gone after the person had died, but if her hate hasn’t lessened yet…”
Shu Huan suddenly widened her eyes and asked, “You are saying that Fang shi is in danger?”
“I don’t know. Let’s go and see.”
As Gu Xiran was talking, he already opened the door and went out.