Chapter 36 – Punishment
Chunni immediately stamped her feet in anger. “Second Shun’s wife, you’re talking nonsense. What have I said to you?”
“Weren’t you the one that said Li family got a wife and she looks like a temptress? It only took you one look to see that she came from that type of place and what not.” Not showing any weakness, Xing-niang stared back at Chunni
“Y-You’re just venomously slandering me!” Chunni’s large eyes immediately reddened. Aggrieved, she sobbed out, “I didn’t say that. I would never say those type of words.”
Xing-niang felt annoyed. It was this little brat that had originally egged her on and now she was denying it. “Despicable girl, you’re the one that’s telling a bold-face lie. You were clearly the one that told me that woman only knew how to seduce men and that she had completely bewitched the Li brothers. You said, who knows where she learned those feminine wiles. You also said -”
“Shut up!” Li Mo coldly interrupted her unbearable tirade. He said to the village head, “Village Head, please take charge over the matter and uphold justice.”
Li Shu joined in and said, “Yeah, Village Head, Second Shun’s wife slandered my wife. She wrongfully accused my wife of being a prostitute and also tried to frame me and said that I want to do something to her. With the Heavens as my witness, I swear that even the idea of touching her finger disgusts me, much less touching her. She should go back home and look in the mirror -”
Li Mo stopped Li Shu from continuing further, “Third brother, what’s the point in saying all that? Village Head will give us justice.”
Li Shu relaxed his furrowed brow. Whatever, everything that should be said, had been said.
The village head dryly coughed and nodded at Li Mo. “Of course.” Then, he imposingly swept his gaze across the crowd until it coldly stopped on Xing-niang. “Xing-niang, you didn’t have any proof before spreading slanderous rumors about Li family’s wife. It’s clear who’s the guilty party and who’s the innocent party in this case. This village head can’t help you this time.”
“Village Head, I -” Frightened by the village head’s stern gaze, Xing-niang felt as if her liver was trembling.
The village head dignifiedly issued the punishment, “Big Kui, Second Gouzi, bring her to the shrine. Hand her over to the goddess to be dealt with.”
“Understood.” Two burly, middle-aged men stood up and walked towards Xing-niang.
Xing-niang screamed out in fear. “Honorable Village Head, it wasn’t me, ah. Chunni was the one that told me to say those words. I didn’t do it deliberately. This is just a misunderstanding, ah.”
Anxious, Chunni shouted in wild abandon, “You’re lying, I never said those words.” If older brother Hua found out that she had been the person who had instigated Xing-niang, would he never talk to her again?
“It was you. Village Head, if you’re going to punish someone, she should be the one that’s punished.” Xing-niang desperately grabbed onto Chunni and wouldn’t let go.
Lianhua, who had been coldly watching everything from the side finally spoke, “Daddy, I think you should send both of them to the goddess. The goddess will fairly deal with them.”
“Older sister Lianhua, how could you?” Chunni hatefully glared at Lianhua. She was abusing her father’s official authority for her own private interests and to avenge her personal wrongs. Did Lianhua think she would be able to get close to older brother Hua after getting rid of her? Dream on. “Let me tell you something, older brother Hua will never like you.”
“You?” Angry, Lianhua glared at her.
The village head also became angry. “What are you squabbling about? Chunni, whether or not you said anything, go to the goddess and tell her yourself.”
“Village Head.” Chunni was dumbfounded. She was an unmarried maiden. How could she enter the shrine? “No, I won’t go.”
Xing-niang wasn’t scared anymore. If someone else was being sent there with her, it was much better than enduring the hardships by herself.
In a fit of anger, Chunni rushed over and yanked Xing-niang‘s hair and shoved her back onto the ground.
Xing-niang wasn’t a meek person either. She immediately fought back.
What an unsightly scene. With his eyebrows raised disapprovingly and holding Li Man’s hand, Li Mo said to his younger siblings, “Let’s go home.”
They were deciding to not get involved and just leave? Chunni felt envious hatred, especially as she saw Li Hua walking by Li Man’s side like a bodyguard, who’s mission was to protect a flower. No longer caring about her struggle with Xing-niang, she abruptly rushed over, pushed Li Hua aside, and pulled Li Man’s sleeve.
Because she had used so much force, half of Li Man’s sleeve was ripped away, and a snow-white, beautiful arm was exposed. There was an especially conspicuous cinnabar dot on her arm.
(T/N: The most famous, mythical method of virgin detection was the gecko cinnabar mark. Supposedly, if a woman had a cinnabar dot on her arm from powdered dried gecko that had been fed cinnabar, it meant that she was still a virgin.)