Chapter 4

Madam Du didn’t consider Jin Lu and Nurse Ye’s presence a problem. When the time came, she just had to think of any reason to send them away. Once they were back, Wei Luo would have already been picked up by the couple. Afterwards, it would be even easier… She could say that Wei Luo had gotten lost, that she was nowhere to be found, and was probably snatched by mountain bandits. Then, she would present a grief-stricken look, it might be good to also get a bit wounded. Back home, she would at most be punished by the fifth master. After a while, he would cool down, then this whole matter would have passed successfully.

Only getting punished once would bring her a life-time peace of mind, what a good deal.

In great spirits, Madam Du spoke to Nurse Ye before entering the wooden cabin: “I’ll come out for a bit. You look after the fourth miss, make sure she’s safe.”

Nurse Ye nodded her head: “The madam can leave it to me.”

Wei Luo gripped the Nurse’s clothes and clenched her teeth, hiding her expression from view. In the past life, Madam Du had entered the cabin, while she had waited outside with Jin Ci and Jin Ge. Not long after, a woman had come out of the cabin, and saying that Madam Du needed her, had brought her inside.

Jin Ci and Jin Ge had been aware of everything, so they had watched her get picked up by that woman, making no move to oppose.

Once she had entered the room, she wasn’t sure why, but Ah Luo had felt something was wrong. She’d done her best to break free from the woman’s arms and had run out the back of the cabin. There was a brook behind the cabin, and one could get down the mountain following the stream. Knowing that, she had ran in that direction.

Unfortunately, she was too young. She hadn’t made it very far, when Madam Du’s people had caught up with her. Madam Du had been extremely angry. She’d changed her mind about selling the child, and had grabbed her by the neck, intending to kill her directly. At that time, Ah Luo had been very scared and helpless. She hadn’t been able to understand how Madam Du had switched from a kind woman with a smiling face to someone who wanted her life.

She had felt her breath gradually escaping. With tears flowing down her face, she had pleaded with Madam Du “mother, why”, “mother, it hurts”. It had all been useless…

What had Madam Du said at that moment?

Oh, she’d said: “Quickly die already. Once you’re dead, my dear Zheng will be able to live happily.”

Was that so?

They wanted to live happily? And the price for that was her life?

Wei Luo showed a faint smile. Madam Du wanted to pave the road for Wei Zheng, but she didn’t want to help them along. She turned to Jin Lu and asked: “Elder sister Jin Lu’s hairpin is really pretty, can Ah Luo have a look?”

Jin Lu always granted any of her requests. It was just a hairpin, of course she could part with it. She took out the silver jasmine hairpin and handed it to Ah Luo: “This hairpin is sharp. Miss, take care not to stab yourself.”

Wei Luo received it, looking up with a smile: “I will.”

She would certainly not stab herself, because that hairpin had a big role to play.

Waiting in the carriage, Ah Luo was on her best behavior, not making a sound. She was swinging her feet, holding the small hairpin appreciatively.

Madam Du should already be thinking how to get Jin Lu and Nurse Ye out of the way, what would she come up with? For Wei Luo, secretly escaping was not an option, since it wouldn’t reveal Madam Du’s plot. Sooner or later, her life would get targeted again. She wanted to cause Madam Du’s downfall instead, the bloodier, the better.

Wei Luo pulled on Jin Lu’s sleeve, “Elder sister Jin Lu, hasn’t the madam come out yet? I’m tired and want to go home, I want to see Daddy…”

Jin Lu stood up and assured her: “I’ll go see what happened. Miss, wait here, I’ll be back soon.”

Wei Luo nodded, blinked, and asked naively: “Why is madam so secretive? Why did she go to speak where we can’t hear?”

To others, it may have looked like she spoke casually, but Jin Lu and Nurse Ye actually found some truth to her words. Madam Du’s actions had been strange in the first place. Even if they suspected, they said nothing. But with Ah Luo’s present reminder, they glanced at each other thoughtfully. Jin Lu climbed down from the carriage and soundlessly arrived outside the cabin.

*

Inside the cabin, Madam Du was talking with the couple.

The couple wasn’t from Sheng. They were slave traders from the Liulin district at the capital’s outskirts. The man was called Wuzhou, the woman’s surname was Wang. The two of them had a very bad reputation in Liulin district, frequently kidnapping children from the capital, then selling them to various other places. Madam Du came to know them through a wet nurse of hers, who was also from Liulin district and had gotten in touch with them.

Although Madam Du was conspiring together with them, she really couldn’t take a liking to those two.

Wuzhou asked: “What should we do about the girl’s maidservants?”

Madam Du looked at her newly dyed nails, an eye-catching, brilliant red color, and raised her lips in a smile, “I’ll find an excuse to send them away in a bit, only a Nurse will be left behind. Just say I’ve instructed you to bring in the child, and go grab her.”

Wang still had some doubts and didn’t feel the act was feasible. Feeling apprehensive, she asked: “Won’t they ask questions? Are you sure people won’t come looking for her? Once we take her away, it might bring us unnecessary trouble.”

Madam Du cast her a sidelong glance, sneering: “Her mother didn’t want her, who’ll look for her?”

Done speaking, she made Ning Xue take out some medicine out of her sleeve, and handed it to Wang, “If you’re not satisfied, then use this to make them faint. I guarantee it’ll absolutely go well.”

That kind of fragrance was an aromatic sedative. It had the effect of helping others sleep soundly, but if the dose was too big, it could cause people to fall into a coma. Madam Du had prepared everything quite thoroughly.

Sure enough, once she took out that kind of thing, Wang’s expression loosened up.

They were all ready to act.

Outside the room, Jin Lu held her breath in rapt attention. Listening to their conversation, her whole body grew cold from head to toe.

The madam actually wanted to sell the fourth miss!

Wasn’t she normally very nice and amiable to the Miss, was that all a pretense? She was unexpectedly so vicious.

Jin Lu was shocked, quickly returned to the carriage and succinctly repeated the overheard conversation to Nurse Ye. Nurse Ye was startled and angry. “The Madam’s heart is truly ruthless!”

Jin Lu pulled her outside, “While they’re still unaware, we should take Miss and escape! We have to report this matter to Master!”

Nurse Ye nodded her head and held Wei Luo to climb down the carriage. Both of her hands trembled, but she held Wei Luo very tightly, her eyes reddening: “My poor Miss…”

Wei Luo was hugging the Nurse’s neck, her intonation was naïve: “Nurse, why are you crying? Why are we walking, we’re not waiting for madam?”

These words made Nurse Ye cry even more bitterly. “Silly Miss, if we wait, the madam will sell you…”

Just before she left, Jiang Miaolan had entrusted the brother and sister to her, to take care of them well. But how did she look after them? She almost lost the young miss!

If it hadn’t been discovered early, what would the girl’s fate have become? Just thinking of the possibility, guilt clutched at her heart.

*

The people in the cabin heard some noise and came out to check, only to find the carriage empty. The servants and the girl had escaped.

Thankfully, their feet weren’t fast, they hadn’t managed to run far. Madam Du ground her teeth and said to Wuzhou: “Go after them quickly!”

If they managed to get to Weikun and talk, would she be able to lie her way out?

This time she had to take care of Jin Lu and Nurse Ye. Once they were caught, she couldn’t afford to let them off.

Wuzhou, as a man, could run faster. He blocked Nurse Ye next to a camphor tree, his hands making to snatch Wei Luo from her arms: “Give her to me!”

The vile dark and thin man revealed a mouth full of yellow teeth. Looking at him, Wei Luo felt queasy. How could Nurse Ye give him Wei Luo? Holding her closely, she retreated a few steps. Seeing Madam Du advancing toward them from behind, she couldn’t bear the grief and indignation, and said: “Madam, although the fourth miss is not your own daughter, she is Master’s daughter. She’s the Duke residence’s fourth miss, how could you do this to her!”

Madam Du strolled over to them leisurely, fixed her expression, and said with a dignified smile: “What do you mean? I can’t understand. I just thought the scenery was good, and brought Ah Luo to show her around.” Saying this, she asked Ah Luo: “Do you like it here?”

Wei Luo didn’t care to give her face (show respect for her feelings/honor/image), her head shaking like a rattle-drum: “I don’t like!”

Madam Du approached slowly: “Why don’t you like?”

She was inducing Ah Luo to speak to her, in order to distract hers and Nurse Ye’s attention. While she spoke, Wuzhou sneaked behind Nurse Ye, meaning to cover her nose and mouth with a cloth. That cloth was soaked with the sedative medicine, just a whiff and Nurse Ye would go down.

Wuzhou thought it was going well, but didn’t think the girl would suddenly turn around and glare at him fiercely. Holding something in her hand, she stabbed at his face.

Those clear, unsettling eyes stared at him coldly. Wuzhou was frozen in place, and couldn’t dodge in time — he only realized his face was in severe pain. He cried out and clutched at his face. When he opened his hands to look, they were covered in blood.

Ah Lou had used the hairpin to cut open his rotten face, from the corner of his eye to the corner of his mouth, the wound was deep and long. A lot of blood flowed out, and the pain would keep him incapacitated for a while.

Madam Du also paused. She didn’t expect a small girl like her could be so ruthless and use this much strength. About to speak, she saw Wei Luo swing the dripping with blood hairpin at her. It almost slashed her face, but she retreated in a panic, falling into Ning Xue with a gasp.

Though Wei Luo had just injured someone, she wasn’t the least bit flustered. In a cold and innocent tone, she said: “Does madam know him? Ah Luo doesn’t like others touching me. Tell him not to touch me, alright?”

Were those the words of a six year old? She was simply insane!

Madam Du’s pupils shrank frantically, apparently couldn’t withstand the shock. She had thought Wei Luo was an ignorant little girl, but saw such a brutal side to her all of a sudden.

In that moment, she almost wanted to nod and say ‘alright’.

Having reached that stage, today’s matter wouldn’t have a clean ending. Wuzhou was injured on the ground, rolling back and forth. The other maidservants had seen the bloody scene and were scared of the silver hairpin in Wei Luo’s hand, fearing that if they approached, they’d get their faces disfigured.

No one dared to approach rashly.

Nurse Ye and Jin Lu were also surprised, however, they thought this was Wei Luo reacting in a desperate situation. They couldn’t help but feel she was all the more pitiful.

The leaves shook, the sunshine broke through the trees, casting a mixture of light and shadow on the ground.

There was a person hidden on a tree close by. Having had enough of the show below, he patted his clothes and stood up to jump in the middle of the gathered people.

With a cyan-colored blouse and a vigorous physique, it was one of Zhao Jie’s bodyguards. He smiled at Wei Luo through clenched teeth: “Little girl, I’ve found you.”


Ah Luo’s weapon of choice

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