Chapter 31: Familiar: The Adulterer’s Belt
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fifth Concubine’s room was a mess—cups, plates, and teacups shattered all over the floor.
A tall, muscular man was lying on his side by the door. He looked slightly over thirty and had somewhat attractive facial features. His eyes were tightly shut, and his green robe was pulled apart to reveal a black-colored belt embellished with jasper loosened at his waist.
Near him, a woman lay—hair scattered and face pale. Her eyes were shut tightly, and the southern pearl and jasper hairpin on her head was tilted. It was Fifth Concubine.
Ye Jiuge let out a sigh of relief to see that her clothes were still on. If they had been in the throes of illicit love-making, she would have been powerless to save Fifth Concubine.
Su Yufeng frowned. The scene in front of her diverged from the plan!
Why are they unconscious instead of lying in bed? Never mind, this should suffice as “catching them in the act.”
“Someone, come and tie up these shameless adulterers!” Su Yufeng shouted.
“Wait!” Ye Jiuge lifted her hand to stop the maids rushing forward. Her eyes circled the man and Fifth Concubine before she turned to Su Yufeng and said, “You claimed that they were having an affair, yet I feel that this thief tried to rape Fifth Concubine and was knocked to the floor.”
“Jiuge, aren’t you lying through your teeth?” Su Yufeng sneered. “The Ye Residence’s inner courtyard is heavily guarded. How could a criminal enter? This adulterer was clearly brought in by Fifth Concubine.”
“Madame, your accusation must have evidence. You have claimed that Fifth Concubine secretly brought in this ruffian, but did you see it with your own eyes?” Ye Jiuge raised her eyebrows as she questioned.
“Why must it be my own eyes when so many people in the Qiu Shui Residence have eyes?” Su Yufeng harrumphed coldly then commanded Gan Mama, who was standing in the corner, “Lock up the Qiu Shui Residence’s maidservants and interrogate them to see if they have seen this adulterer before.”
“Yes, Madame!” After bowing, Gan Mama led in the servants she’d brought with her from the torture chamber. Hungrily, they pounced on the maidservants and detained them.
Although Ye Jiuge appeared to be watching coldly, secretly, she was using her spiritual eye to discover Ye Yu’s whereabouts.
But even after searching the entire residence, she could not find Ye Yu. Where can he be at this critical moment?
Just then, Gan Mama brought in another Mama. Ye Jiuge recognized her as Wang Mama, an old servant Su Yufeng had assigned to the Qiu Shui Residence. It seemed that Su Yufeng had already made arrangements.
Gan Mama bowed then reported, “Madame, Wang Mama has confessed that she showed this man in on Fifth Concubine’s authority.”
“Wang Mama, tell me: did Fifth Concubine instruct you to bring this man into the Residence?” Su Yufeng lowered her gaze as viciousness flitted across her eyes.
“Madame, please be the judge, Fifth Concubine forced me to bring the man in! ” sniveled Wang Mama.
Apparently, the man was Fifth Concubine’s distant cousin. She had developed a close relationship with him when she stayed at his house before she was sold to the Ye Residence, but had not dared to contact him while her status was lowly. However, after rising in the ranks thanks to her daughter, she began to miss her cousin tremendously. Not only did she send him money, but she had also taken advantage of the old master’s absence and threatened Wang Mama, demanding she bring her the adulterer for a tryst.
“According to what Wang Mama has just explained, Fifth Concubine must trust her very much. In which case, Wang Mama, why does she never allow you to wait on her?” sneered Ye Jiuge.
Although Fifth Concubine wanted to please Su Yufeng, she was afraid of being stabbed in the back by her servants. This meant that only Qiu Mama (who had been sent by Ye Yuxuan), Xing Hua, and Tao Hua were left to wait on her. Some time ago, Qiu Mama had caught a cold and taken leave to rest.
“It’s it’s because,” stammered Wang Mama, “Fifth Concubine deliberately alienated me out of fear that people would discover that she had assigned me this task.” Not daring to look into Ye Jiuge’s eyes, Wang Mama turned her head away and said to Su Yufeng, “Madame, Xing Hua has seen this adulterer before. If you do not believe me, summon her and question her yourself.”
Xing Hua was renowned for being simple-minded; she never lied.
Su Yufeng nodded. “Alright, send for Xing Hua!”
Immediately, Xing Hua was brought forward. There was confusion on her honest, loyal square face. She could not understand what was happening.
“Xing Hua, let me ask you, have you seen this man before?” Su Yufeng pointed to the man, who was still unconscious.
Xing Hua opened her brass bell-like eyes wide and carefully looked at the man, before shaking her head and replying, “Madame, I have never seen him before.”
“Look again, carefully, even if you have never seen this man’s face, perhaps you have seen his clothes or personal effects.” Su Yufeng’s words did not bother to disguise the hint.
Xing Hua opened her large eyes even wider and looked closely. This time, her face changed. Clearly, she had noticed something.
Su Yufeng slammed the table and pointed at her, chiding, “How dare you lie to me! Someone, haul her off and give her ten lashes of the whip to see if she confesses.”
“Madame, please have mercy, I have only just realized it.” Xing Hua’s face paled with fear. She pointed to the man’s waist and said, “I have seen the belt.”
At that moment, Qing Liu, who was standing beside Ye Jiuge, tugged Ye Jiuge’s sleeve covertly. Ye Jiuge turned her eyes slightly and saw anxiousness in her eyes. Qing Liu had something to say.
Qing Mama, who had also realized that something was wrong with Qing Liu, interrupted Xing Hua; her concern was apparent. She asked Ye Jiuge, “Eldest Miss, Fifth Concubine has been unconscious for a long time, do you think she is alright?”
Ye Jiuge understood her meaning at once. “I also find it strange. We have been here for a while, but Fifth Concubine and the ruffian are still unconscious.”
As she was speaking, Ye Jiuge looked towards Su Yufeng, then continued, “Madame, don’t you find this strange?”
“Jiuge, there is no need to worry, I have already sent someone to fetch your father. We should wait for him to come back if there is anything wrong!” As Su Yufeng’s gaze swept the room, the maids by her side surrounded the door to the interior chamber, clearly intending to prevent anyone from coming forward.
“In that case, I shall go out and see if Father is back. Qing Mama, stay here to ensure that nobody touches Fifth Concubine. If anyone messes with her, don’t be kind.” Ye Jiuge shot a warning glance at the maids and Su Yufeng, then she turned and walked out.
Qing Liu trailed hurriedly behind Ye Jiuge, but Su Yufeng and Ye Shanshan did not follow her out. Both women looked confident; they did not fear any of Ye Jiuge’s tricks.
“Qing Liu, did you see something?” Ye Jiuge asked Qing Liu once they reached an empty corner of the courtyard.
“Eldest Miss, that man in Fifth Concubine’s room. His belt…” Qing Liu said, lowering her voice. “I have seen it before.”