The hairpin was lying on red silk. It was clear that someone had intentionally broken off one of the two butterflies off instead of the butterfly accidentally breaking off.
Zhao Jie's face sunk, then he asked, "Who broke it?"
Wei Luo paused. Soon after, she shook her head and said she didn't know. Originally, she had wanted to mention Li Xiang. But, after she thought about it, it wouldn't be good to rashly accuse her without evidence. What if someone asked her for evidence? Wouldn't it be too careless to say it was only her instinct? She had to find conclusive evidence first so that Li Xiang wouldn't have room to refute.
Zhao Jie entered the hall with her, called all of the palace eunuchs and servant girls that had been serving in the back of hall to come forward, and flung the box at them. With a foreboding face, he asked, "What happened with this?"
None of the palace eunuchs and servant girls knew what happened. They looked at each other in dismay. They thought an error had been made with Princess Tianji's hairpin ceremony. One by one, they threw themselves onto the floor to plead for mercy, "This servant is ignorant.. Your Highness Prince Jing, please investigate..."
His cold face didn't become even slightly milder. Instead, it became even colder. "You can't even properly watch over a hairpin. What's the use in keeping you?"
Hearing this, everyone cried out they were wrongly accused and repeatedly pressed their foreheads against the ground while begging for mercy.
This method of asking wouldn't work. They couldn't all be killed to vent Zhao Jie's anger. If this happened, Zhao Jie wouldn't find the culprit and Li Xiang would be let off from being punished.
After Wei Luo thought for a moment, she called forward the servant girl that had given her box, "During the short time I was gone, did anyone else touch this box or come to the back of the hall?"
Seeing the opportunity to escape death, the servant girl seriously went through her memory and honestly said, "I didn't see anyone touching the box... But Prince Ru Yang's daughter and Duke Zhen's second daughter had come by here."
Li Xiang and Gao Qing Yang... Gao Qing Yang didn't have any enmity with her. She probably wouldn't deliberate harm her. It was different with Li Xiang. Li Xiang would love if it she made a fool of herself and was punished by Empress Chen.
Unfortunately for Li Xiang, she could have never expected that Zhao Jie would give her an almost identical hairpin.
Thinking about that hairpin, Wei Luo felt somewhat reluctant in her heart. She won't mention the other factors. Just the appearance of the hairpin was enough for her to like it. It was really beautiful...
If Li Xiang was really the culprit, she definitely couldn't let her get away with this.
After Wei Luo pondered over this, she decided that she would personally solve this problem. She didn't want Zhao Jie to interfere. Zhao Jie was a man. The battlefield and officialdom were the areas where he exerted his control. If he became involved in a conflict between women, then it would be too petty. Beside, she had already thought of a method for Li Xiang to pick up the stone that would crush her own feet. Since Li Xiang dared to try to secretly harm her, then she should be prepared to face retaliation.
After the hairpin ceremony was over, Zhao Liuli asked a servant girl where Wei Luo went and hastily came to the back of the hall. She had already taken off the golden butterfly and plum blossom hairpin. As she personally gave it back to Wei Luo, she rebuked, "Ah Luo, did you think I wouldn't know? This isn't my hairpin. This is the one my older brother gave you..."
They were standing behind a rosewood screen divider inlayed with natural ivory and speaking with low voices, so they weren't worried about being overheard.
Wei Luo's face showed her astonishment.
During the hairpin ceremony, she knew that Liuli had recognized this hairpin. But, she hadn't expected that Liuli would return it. She had already prepared herself for the loss!
Seeing that Wei Luo wasn't taking the hairpin, Liuli held her hand and earnestly put the hairpin into her hand. Liuli glanced at Zhao Jie, then in an ambiguous tone, she whispered into Wei Luo's ear, "I don't know about anything else, but I know that my older brother had ordered people to make two of these hairpins. One was for me and the one was for you. Yours is much more exquisite than mine. Even though I think my older brother is being bias, I can't take your things."
In addition, Wei Luo was her best friend. She wouldn't bicker with her over this!
After saying this, she stretched out her hand, and asked with a smile, "I returned your hairpin. Where's mine?"
Wei Luo didn't hide from her. She took the hairpin out from the box and frankly said, "Someone broke your hairpin... At that time, I didn't have another way, so I replaced it with that one."
Startled, Zhao Liuli took the hairpin and looked at it closer. "Why is it missing a butterfly? Was it dropped and got broken off?"
Wei Luo shook her head, "It wasn't dropped..." After a pause, she slowly said, "If I guessed correctly, someone was deliberately trying to harm me."
Zhao Liuli widened her eyes, "What?"
Liuli wasn't stupid. After seriously thinking about it, she quickly understood what had happened. She hurriedly asked, "Ah Luo, who wanted to harm you?"
Wei Luo said, "I have a suspect in mind, but I'm not sure yet if its her."
After saying this, she leaned closer to Liuli and whispered something. Other than the two of them, no one else knew what she said.
On the other side of the Zhao Yang Hall, after the hairpin ceremony was over, the noble women bid Empress Chen good-bye. One by one, they left Zhao Yang Hall and exited the palace.
Gao Dan Yang hadn't left yet. She had Gao Qing Yang leave first while she stayed with Empress Chen so they could talk for a while. Gao Qing Yang didn't have any objections and started leaving the hall. Coincidentally, she was walking behind Li Xiang. One after another, they left Zhao Yang Hall's main doors. While they were walking in the spacious verandah, Gao Qing Yang looked at the person in front of her and suddenly called out, "Li Xiang."
Li Xiang didn't have a very good relationship with her. Hearing her voice, she reluctantly stopped, turned her head, and asked, "Does Duke Zhen's Second Miss have something to say?"
Li Xiang disliked Gao Qing Yang and Gao Dan Yang. She believed that she was more beautiful than those two, but in all respects, those two stood in limelight more than her. Every time there was a large banquet, everyone would revolve around these two siblings. What was so great about them? Wasn't it only because Empress Chen was their maternal aunt?
Her mother was the elder princess. Her status was much more noble than theirs!
Gao Qing Yang didn't say anything until the people around them left. Then, she walked closer to Li Xiang. She smiled as she said, "Of course, there's something. If I didn't, why would I talk to you?"
Li Xiang looked at her in askance, "What?"