Li Xiang subconsciously hid her hand into her sleeve and clenched her hand tighter.
She hadn't seen anyone in the room when she entered, but now they had all appeared. It wasn't difficult to guess that this had been a trap. She clenched her teeth and looked at Wei Luo, who was next to Zhao Liuli. Wei Luo's hands were behind her back and her smiling pink lips seemed to be laughing at her.
She shouldn't have come back... No matter how much doubt she had in her heart, she shouldn't have come back!
At this point, it was too late to have these thoughts. A servant girl behind Zhao Liuli carried the rosewood box with a plum flower design to Empress Chen and mumbled, "Your Majesty, the princess's hairpin is missing a butterfly..."
Empress Chen looked down to see the situation inside the box.
Empress Chen had originally been talking with Gao Dan Yang at Zhao Yang Hall when Zhao Liuli suddenly said she was unsatisfied about a minor detail for the golden butterfly hairpin and pestered her into coming here to look. She didn't have any choice other than accompanying Zhao Liuli here. Unexpectedly, she saw this scene when she came here. Empress Chen wasn't a fool. She knew that her daughter had deliberately lied to get her to come here, but she didn't reveal this. Her daughter must have a reason for doing this. She took advantage of the situation to look at Li Xiang and see what she would say.
Knowing that she couldn't escape from this disaster, Li Xiang hurriedly kneeled and opened her hand to reveal the golden butterfly inside. She tried to avoid taking responsibility for her action. Afraid of acknowledging her error, she said, "Jiumu (maternal uncle's wife), please calm down... I saw how beautiful this hairpin was and couldn't resist playing with it. I didn't expect that it would be so fragile. I only gently touched it and a butterfly fell off..."
Then, she raised her small, white jade face and helplessly said, "I know that this is older cousin Liuli's adulthood ceremony's hairpin and has exceptional significance. It's entirely my fault for liking to play too much... Where was older cousin's hairpin made? Will it be okay if I compensate you with an identical one?"
She had deliberately called Empress Chen jiumu and Zhao Liuli older cousin, so that Empress Chen might only lightly punish her for Elder Princess Gao Yang's sake. But, she had thought too simply. Empress Chen dearly loved Zhao Liuli. How could she tolerate anyone acting against her? Empress Chen's face immediately became severe and mercilessly said, "Since you know that this hairpin has exceptional significance, how will you be able to compensate with an identical one? How does Zhao Xuan usually teach you? Do you think it's okay to casually touch other people's things?"
(T/N: Just in case it's too long ago, Elder Princess Gao Yang's name is Zhao Xuan.)
Li Xiang pursed her lips and her eyes showed her humiliation. She hadn't expected that Empress Chen would scold her and even her mother in front of so many people...
Empress Chen and Elder Princess Gao Yang had never gotten along, so Empress Chen had never been close with her two children, Li Xiang and Li Song. In addition, Prince Ru Yang's heir was Zhao Zhang's henchman. Empress Chen's relationship with Prince Ru Yang's family had become worse and worse.
Before Empress Chen had married Emperor Chong Zhen, Elder Princess Gao Yang hadn't approved of her older brother marrying her. They had secretly been very competitive with each other. During the past years, they had only slowly stopped after growing older. Empress Chen had always disliked Elder Princess Gao Yang. Now, Li Xiang had landed in her hand from breaking Zhao Liuli's hairpin. How could it be possible for her to be amiable?
Li Xiang bit her lower lip, looked up, and said, "This was my fault. It's not related to my mother. Jiumu, please don't blame this on my mother..." Then, she looked at Zhao Liuli and mulled over her words several times before saying, "Older cousin Liuli, it was my fault. I broke your hairpin. Please be magnanimous as my superior. Don't act like me and fuss over this.”
As Li Xiang said this, she clenched the fist that was inside her sleeve. She had always been in a high position and behaved overbearing to others. She never had to grovel and beg for mercy.
And she had done this in front of Wei Luo!
She didn't have to look to know the current expression on Wei Luo's face.
If she didn't have to beg Empress Chen to forgive her, she would never lower her head in front of Wei Luo.
The more she thought about it, the angrier that Li Xiang became. Everything must have been schemed by Wei Luo. She had deliberately lured her here so that she would be readily caught. She was truly despicable and shameless...
Zhao Liuli didn't say whether or not she forgave her. She took the hairpin that Yun Zi handed over, brought it closer to look, sucked her lips in, and very regretfully said, "It's broken like this. It definitely can't be fixed... I really like this hairpin..."
Li Xiang pursed her lips tighter.
At the side, Gao Dan Yang naturally also saw the raised hairpin. She made a noise in surprise and pointed at the part where the butterfly was broken off. "It doesn't look like it had broken off from falling. It seems more like someone had torn it off..."
Hearing this, Empress Chen deeply looked at Li Xiang.
Li Xiang hurriedly lowered her head and defended herself. "I won't hide this from jiumu. I didn't have a good hold of it before and accidentally knocked it against the mirror. That's how it broke. I definitely didn't have any intention of damaging older cousin Liuli's stuff."
Empress Chen stayed silent before slowly asking, "Was it really not intentional? This empress remembers that you don't like to play with Liuli. Why did you suddenly have an interest with her stuff? If you only wanted to look, Liuli would have shown it to you. Why did you sneakily come here to look?"
These words had undisguised irony. The criticism was directed towards her. Everyone here knew that she was close with Zhao Lin Lang and cold with Zhao Liuli. Now, she had done something to her stuff. Even if it had been unintentional, she would be unable to give a convincing explanation in self-defense. In addition, she had done this intentionally. Even if she had a mouth as long as her body, she wouldn't be able to defend her innocence.
Li Xiang clenched her teeth. Just as she wanted to say more, she heard Empress Chen slowly say, "Never mind. Your mother will come to the palace. Since she hasn't raised her child well, then this empress will teach you how a girl of your status should behave in front of her."
Stunned, Li Xiang looked up. She felt her extremely incredulous.
To have her mother called to the palace and to discipline her in front of her mother. Wasn't that intentionally damaging their reputation?
She opened her mouth, "Your Majesty...."
However, Empress Chen didn't give her any more opportunities to refute. Empress Chen turned around and left the back of the hall without saying if she wanted her to continue to kneel or if she could stand up. Zhao Liuli and Gao Dan Yang directly followed Empress Chen to also leave. Wei Luo was behind them.
Li Xiang looked up to hatefully glare at Wei Luo.
Wei Luo lifted her eyes to look at her. An imperceptible smile flashed through her eyes. She came closer, then leaned over and quietly said, "Li Xiang, do you know how to write foolishly stupid?"
Li Xiang clenched her teeth and didn't say anything.
Wei Luo faintly smiled and continue, "Originally, I didn't know. But after seeing you today, I suddenly understand."
Then, ignoring Li Xiang's stare, she caught up with Liuli and left together.
Li Xiang looked at her departing figure. Her nails were deeply embedded in her flesh, but she didn't feel the slightest pain.