The Rebirth of an Ill-Fated Consort - Chapter 112.1 - Frantic (Part I)
Chapter 112 : Frantic (Part I)
Trigger Warning : mention of abortion and miscarriage, and domestic violence.
“Why are you just standing there! Hurry up and get a midwife!” Jiang Quan hurried forward and saw Xia Yan’s lower body stained with blood. Without any thought, he raised his hand and gave Jiang Ruan a vicious slap across her face.
“Pa” rang out, causing all who heard it to jump in fright. Jiang Quan had a heavy hand, and immediately the distinctive print of his five fingers appeared on Jiang Ruan’s fair face. Simultaneously her face began to swell and blood spilled out from the corner of her lips.
Jiang Quan was flabbergasted. While he had rashly used his hand in a fit of anger, he had not expected Jiang Ruan to merely stand there unmoving and steadfastly withstand the slap. Meanwhile, a flash of elation appeared in Xia Jiao Jiao’s eyes, while Xuan Li, who had rushed over upon hearing the news, silently knitted his brows.
Jiang Ruan took a handkerchief from her bosom to wipe the blood on her lips and placidly said, “Has Father’s temper cooled down now?
To publicly harm anyone from the imperial family was definitely disrespectful; Jiang Quan was dumbfounded and without words. He looked at Xia Yan who seemed to be at her last breath and at once his fury rose again. Pointing at Jiang Ruan’s nose, he cursed, “Evil girl. With such a malevolent heart, you dare to blatantly plot to murder the first wife! Utterly preposterous and deranged!”
Xia Cheng, who had accompanied Xuan Li, was naturally very pleased with the scene before him. He had harboured great hatred towards Jiang Ruan back when she had plotted against the Xia family’s only grandson, Xia Jun so he was naturally happy to behold Jiang Ruan’s stricken state. In fact, he wasn’t really concerned about his daughter’s safety. However, to be presented with such a scenario, and before Xuan Li’s presence, naturally he had to put in a few perfunctory words. Thus insincerely he remarked, “Son-in-law, I’m sure your Ruan girl didn’t do it on purpose. Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding?”
“That’s right,” Jiang Ruan quietly added, “Why doesn’t Father ask Mother, as maybe there has been some misunderstanding. In addition, how did you conclude that I had intentionally pushed Mother. That said, if Father’s anger has still not been appeased, I am willing to let Father slap me a few more times.”
Her words were without any inflection, and her beautiful eyes did not even reveal an iota of emotion, almost as if the earlier slap had merely been an illusion.
Xia Jiao Jiao had expected to see a downtrodden Jiang Ruan but what she couldn’t believe was that up till this point, Jiang Ruan was still her usual composed and serene self. She could not stop herself from gritting her teeth.
Xuan Li thoughtfully looked towards Jiang Ruan; this type of a girl, to be able to conceal her expressions and emotions, isn’t she extremely special?
At Jiang Ruan’s words, it became clearly evident that Jiang Quan’s earlier outburst was without justification. This allowed for the people who had come with Xuan Li to reflect on the incident. No matter what, this Jiang family’s di daughter was bestowed by the Empress Dowager herself as Hong’an Junzhu, so how come her status within the fu was so low. Listening to Jiang Ruan’s meaning behind her words, did it not imply that she was normally used as Jiang Quan’s punching bag? Wasn’t Jiang Quan blatantly slighting the imperial family?
Jiang Quan was further enraged, and was about to give another slap, but with the large audience present, he could only hold back as he blustered, “You still dare to quibble?”
Jiang Ruan grinned, “Why won’t Father ask Mother? The victim is right before you.”
A group of old maidservants had hurried over upon hearing the news and were about to take Xia Yan away. When they heard what was said, they stopped their movements. Xia Yan’s heart was full of hatred as Jiang Ruan’s words were spot on. Based on Xia Yan’s usual amiable and magnamious attitude, it was obvious that she had to say that Jiang Ruan had not intentionally committed the act. But if she were to say as such, wouldn’t that pardon Jiang Ruan of the entire situation? When her thoughts arrived at this point, she painfully moaned out two words, “It hurts…”
As a result, the old maidservants did not tarry any further, and immediately carried Xia Yan back to her room.
Jiang Quan took in the current situation, without any further ado, he too followed quickly after Xia Yan. The Xia family naturally wanted to watch the excitement, and Xuan Li stayed as well. Since all the relevant people were gathered and accounted for, Jiang Ruan naturally would not be left behind, and so, she too followed suit.
When Tian Zhu passed by Jiang Ruan, she was somewhat worried when she saw the injury on Jiang Ruan’s face. Jiang Ruan merely shook her head, so Tian Zhu could only lower her head and pretend to be unaware.
When the small posse of people arrived at Xia Yan’s house, Xia Yan was already in her room and was with the requested midwife. Intermittently there was the sound of Xia Yan’s screeching, which caused the congregated people’s hearts to be scared witless. When Second Yiniang heard about the incident, she brought Jiang Li over to take delight in Xia Yan’s misfortune, while Jiang Su Su and Hong Ying had also rushed over. Jiang Dan on the other hand merely stayed in her own courtyard.
Hong Ying noticed the injury on Jiang Ruan’s face after she heard from the servants that Jiang Quan had given Jiang Ruan a slap. However, she had not expected the injury to be that severe and was taken aback. Noticing Jiang Quan’s volatile manner, she hurried forward to quietly comfort in undertones. Under Hong Ying’s gentle consolation, Jiang Quan’s dark expression receded slightly, but when he gazed toward the room, he became very concerned. Afterall, she was someone he had once loved so the heartache and anxiousness was genuine.
Jiang Su Su was naturally in a towering rage. These past few days made her restrain her temper and so she did not react as Jiang Quan had done, but her eyes simmered with unadulterated malice and hatred.
Jiang Li and Second Yiniang were the happiest. Jiang Li said to Jiang Ruan, “Da Jiejie, how could you push Mother like that? If our little brother were to be lost, Mother would be extremely heartbroken.”
When Jiang Quan heard these words, his fury began to rise further towards Jiang Ruan once again. But then, at that moment, the room’s door was suddenly opened and an exhausted midwife walked out. Lin Lang and Fei Cui looked towards Jiang Quan and without a word, they both fell to their knees, crying, “Master, Furen has miscarried.”
Jiang Quan reacted to the news as if he was struck by lightning, staggering back a couple of steps, as he uttered a distressed, “What?”
The midwife shook her head with regret, “Master, there was nothing this servant could have done, it was a young master.”
Jiang Quan looked back, casting an enraged look at Jiang Ruan. Suddenly, again he raised his hand and was about to high handedly give another slap as he roared, “You murdering girl, you’ve killed your own brother!”
A loud “pa” rang, but this time the slap did not land on Jiang Ruan’s face. Tian Zhu was not able to retaliate, but at the critical moment, she stood in front of Jiang Ruan and took the slap on her behalf.
Jiang Quan was infuriated, “Who do you think you are? Servants, take this wicked servant out and beat her to death!”
“That’s enough,” Jiang Ruan coldly said, “Father, you have not even clarified the situation, yet you would blatantly disregard a human life in the presence of His Royal Highness, Eighth Prince?”
Since she had pointed him out, obviously Xuan Li could no longer remain a bystander. Moreover, Xuan Li was someone who paid attentioned to his reputation, so he had to put on the role of investigating in detail, “That’s right, I would advise Jiang daren to gather all the information and find out all of the details of this matter before taking any definitive action.”
 明察秋毫 (Ming cha qiu hao) – (Mencius idiom) lit. seeing clearly the downy feathers of autumn. Fig. perceptive of even the finest detail.
“What more is there for Da Jiejie to say?” Jiang Su Su glowered. Presently, her beauty was beyond that of the past, and even her intelligence had improved. She would no longer unequivocally rely on just her beauty. Her eyes were reddened, as if she was valiantly holding back her tears, yet her voice was choked with emotions as she pressed on, “Is Da Jiejie trying to say that Mother would intentionally cause the loss of her own flesh and blood?”
On seeing such a beauty look so pitiful, Xuan Li mildly consoled, “Second Jiang Miss, please do not grieve overtly.”
Jiang Ruan answered with a question, “And why is that not possible?”
“Master….” At that moment, Xia Yan slowly walked out with the support of her maidservants. Her whole body was teetering on the verge of collapse, and her complexion was sheet white, almost like the clean white outfit she had changed into. She looked all the more wan and sallow. She looked at Jiang Quan and slowly knelt down.
“Yan’er, what are you doing!” Jiang Quan quickly came forward and lifted her up into his embrace.
Xia Yan looked towards Jiang Ruan, crying out in sorrow, “Master, ever since I, your concubine, stepped into the fu, after Jiejie died, I have filled the fu with descendents and managed the affairs well, and have never done any immoral things. Since the return of Ruan’er, I have treated her with sincerity, often fearful of not doing a good enough job. I am aware that it’s not easy being a stepmother, and have always been cautious and careful, but who knows…” She wiped away her tears and said bitterly, “If the other concubines would be as tolerant, so be it, but since ancient times, a child is the one thing that any mother would cherish above all else. Ruan’er has done wrong and I am able to forgive, but my unborn child can’t forgive what she has done. Originally our family shame ought not to be taken out in public, but since Ruan’er has the audacity to slander me, then I can no longer tolerate it. Since His Royal Highness, Eighth Prince is here, then I’d like to beseech Your Highness and Master to obtain resolution, and to give my unborn child justice! She loudly wailed, “Master, that was our child!”
Xia Cheng was also full of anger, “My in-laws, I had given my precious daughter to be married into your fu, without thinking that she would be suffering such treatment. Since it’s like this, if you do not give us a fair and just outcome today, I will take Yan’er back with me. The Xia fu is more than able to support our Yan’er!”
“That’s right, Younger Sister-in-law is such a nice person,” Shen Rou continued to fan the flames, “Heavens have mercy, to lose a child, if Mother were to find out upon our return, she would be extremely heartbroken. Our family master had said that in a few days he would become an uncle, but who knew! Ai.”
Xia Jiao Jiao also wanted to add chaos into the mix so she continued, “I didn’t expect that Eldest Jiang Miss would be such a person. It’s as if the rules and regulations of the Jiang fu have been discarded, everyone in the Xia fu is aware that a girl has to show filial respect to their mothers. This act of yours in conspiring to murder the di mother, I’m sure that within the whole Great Jin no one would be able to find another person like you.
 唯恐天下不 (wei kong tian xia bu luan) – (idiom) to wish for the whole world to be in chaos.
Jiang Quan was already upset and distressed to see Xia Yan in such a state, but after listening to the condemning words from the Xia family, he felt his head pounding furiously. He wished that he had choked Jiang Ruan to death after Zhao Mei gave birth to her so that she would not be able to cause such a catastrophe in the Jiang family. The mere thought of that unborn son intensified the pain in Jiang Quan’s heart.
Jiang Su Su began to sob softly, and Jiang Li was about to say more but was held back by Second Yiniang, so she remained silent.
Hong Ying initially had thought that Xia Yan had not used the chou-yu silk so she wouldn’t have miscarried. However she had received the news today that Xia Yan had indeed miscarried. While she was elated with the news, she could not help but have a niggling suspicion, not quite comprehending what had transpired.
Xuan Li looked towards Jiang Ruan, and Jiang Ruan nonchalantly replied, “Since Mother keeps on requesting for justice, then I, this junzhu, will seek justice for Mother.”
“Ruan’er, why would you harm me in this way?” Xia Yan charged with animosity.
“I’ve harmed Mother?” Jiang Ruan smirked, “Wasn’t it Mother who took medication to abort the child, and is now taking the opportunity to accuse me?”
“Do I look insane?” Xia Yan was aghast, “How could I harm my own child, and what benefit is it to me to implicate you?”
“Naturally there are benefits.” Jiang Ruan grinned, “To not only lose a child prior to knowing if it’s a boy or girl, but to be able to use the loss to implicate me. Furthermore, with Mother instigating the charge, Father is bound to be infuriated. And should this matter circulate out, then Ruan niang’s reputation would be smeared for the rest of her life, and if I was brought to court, then I would have to pay for it with my life. Dage is currently at the borders, and if he became aware of Ruan niang’s situation, then his state of mind would be in disheaval. Furthermore,it would be best if something were to happen to him while in that state. This way, the whole Jiang fu and its establishment could only land into the hands of Second Brother. Surely Mother can follow the trail of clues, and would be able to instigate a connection between Ruan niang and Fifth Yiniang simply by arranging for people to verify. Then, in that case, I’m afraid that even Fifth Yiniang could not escape this calamity.” Jiang Ruan warmly smiled, “Mother, to take actions such as these, however way you look at it, it would definitely be worthwhile, right?”
 顺藤摸瓜 (Shun teng mo guo) – lit. to follow the vine to get to the melon. Fig. to track something following clues.
The audience looked at her dumbfounded. Jiang Ruan’s speech was very direct and revealing, without any trace of subterfuge. There weren’t many people in the world who would be so brazen as to speak as such, not even leaving a stitch of cloth covering but totally exposing the truth outright.
Xia Yan was momentarily left flabbergasted, as if she had suffered immense shame and humiliation. Pointing her finger at Jiang Ruan, “You…. I’ve never entertained such thoughts!” She frantically looked towards Jiang Quan, “Master, I have never entertained such thoughts!”
Jiang Quan softly reassured, “I naturally know that you’re not that kind of a person.” He turned towards Jiang Ruan, his expression flew from humiliation to rage, “Evil daughter, you’ve gone so far to the extent of knowing no shame!”
“The young lady of the Jiang fu is really audacious,” Xia Cheng exclaimed, “Today, this old man cannot bear to see this carry on. Servants take away this malicious girl, who not only refused to admit to her malevolent misdemeanor of her di mother, but in turn brazenly slandered against her.”
“Who dares make a move!” Jiang Ruan raised her voice. Her red dress was like fire, but her eyes were like sharp swords quenched by ice. The coldness of that moment caused everyone around her to tremble. There was the feeling of the devil rising from hell demanding for someone’s life, and her eyes were resolute and awe-inspiring.
She wasn’t vexed but smiled instead as she addressed Xia Cheng, “Marquis Xia, with regards to family matters, you are a Xia, so how did it come about for you to interfere with the Jiang family matters. And if it is regarding matters pertaining to the country, then upon meeting me, you ought to address me as Junzhu! The hierarchy between us too aren’t equally matched, so are you intending to disregard the reputation of the Empress Dowager, to utterly seize the authority of His Majesty!”
Each question was strict and piercing to the point that Xia Cheng was left dumbfounded and speechless. Jiang Ruan flippantly turned to Xuan Li saying, “Since His Royal Highness, Eighth Prince is here, then he also represents His Majesty, so would Your Highness be willing to stand witness?”
Xuan Li warmly replied, “It would be my pleasure.” Seeing this play now, he really couldn’t see the possibility of Jiang Ruan turning defeat into victory. However, he still maintained an equitable facade. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a little ant struggling to survive in the sea of flames?
“What’s your intention?” Jiang Quan sternly questioned.
“Since Father does not deign to trust me, then there is nothing I can say to that. I think that it’s Mother who has poisoned the unborn child in her womb in order to frame me. So I request Your Highness to have people search the various courtyards. If they are able to find any medical herbs that could induce a miscarriage, then we will have physical evidence.”
Xia Yan was about to burst out laughing. Jiang Ruan had thought herself to be so clever, but where would there be any medicine for abortion to be found. Even if they searched the whole Yan Hua Yuan inside out, they wouldn’t find anything. She fixed her eyes on Jiang Ruan, not wanting to miss any of her expression as she bit out, “What happens if nothing can be found?”
“Then I will admit to the charges and have Father send me to the court to be dealt with. Would this be acceptable for Mother?” Jiang Ruan stated.
“Ok.” Xia Yan agreed through clenched teeth, “Then that’s settled then.”