The Peach Blossom Fan-Part Eight
The servants from the Ma family again urged them to hurry up, "It is so late now. You received, the money but you do not give Li Xiangjun to us. We'll put her into the sedan chair ourselves."
Yang Longyou shouted to them, "The mother and daughter can't bear to part. Please show mercy and wait for another moment."
Li Zhenli was in a fluster. She said, "Xiangjun is injured but they ask for her so eagerly. What can I do?"
"You know Prime Minister Ma Shiying is hottempered," Yang Longyou warned her. "If you make him angry, you and your daughter are doomed."
Frightened, Li Zhenli pleaded with him, "Please save us."
Yang Longyou looked at Li Zhenli for a while, then an idea dawned on him. He said, "It is good for a prostitute to have a family. After marrying into the Tian family, you will have no more worries for the rest of your life. Since Xiangjun refuses this marriage, why should you not go insteatl?"
"How can I do such a thing!" Li Zhenli protested.
"Then wait here to be arrested tomorrow morning." Yang Longyou said, threatening her.
Thinking this over carefully, Li Zhenli realized that there was no other way out, so she reluctantly agreed. Yang Longyou heaved a sigh of relief and hurried Li Zhenli to prepare herself. Although Li Zhenli was worried that she would be recognized, Yang Longyou patted his chest and assured her, "I will tell them you are Xiangjun. Who knows better? Moreover, you are so pretty and you look young. Didn't those servants mistake you for Xiangjun just a moment ago?"
After making up, Li Zhenli tearfully bid farewell to Li Xiangjun. Suddenly she thought of something and whispered to a maidservant, "Put those three hundred taels of silver in a safe place. Don't spend them." Then she stepped into the bridal sedan chair and sadly departed the House of Enchanting Fragrance.
Yang Longyou was secretly pleased and proud of his clever arrangement, for with Li Zhenli finding a family, Li Xiangjun preserving her loyalty to Hou Fangyu, Ma Shiying saving face, and Ruan Dacheng getting his revenge, everyone would be satisfied in the long run.
Half a month had passed. The wound on Li Xiangjun's forehead had healed. One day when she was sitting in front of her dressing table, Li Xiang- jun fell into a deep depression. She thought of her hasty parting with Hou Fangyu and felt grieved that she had no idea where he might be. In order to save herself, her mother had married in place of her and she did not know either when her mother might come back. Grief overwhelmed her. She took out the fan that Hou Fangyu had given her to mark their love and unfolded it. Seeing the bloodspots on it, Li Xiangjun heaved a long sigh and said to herself, "My dearest Master Hou, it's all for you that I shed my blood on this fan so as to preserve my loyalty to you." Thus feeling depressed and tired, she leaned over her dressing table and fell into a deep sleep.
That day Yang Longyou passed by the House of Enchanting Fragrance and decided to call on Li Xiangjun. He ran into Su Kunsheng unexpectedly. The pair quietly made their way upstairs and saw Li Xiangjun sleeping at the dressing table with tears still on her face. They tried not to wake her and turned to leave. Suddenly Yang Longyou saw the fan under Li Xiangjun's arm and came forward to draw it out gently. The pair looked at it carefully and expressed their sorrow for Li Xiangjun.
Yang Longyou whispered to Su Kunsheng, "This fan was a gift from Brother Hou. Now with bloodstains on it, it looks more beautiful than it did before. The stains can be made'into a picture of a blooming tree by adding branches and leaves."
Su Kunsheng thought that was a good idea. Yang Longyou picked some leaves from potted plants and squeezed the juice from them to be used as substitute ink. He then took up a brush and thoughtfully added branches and leaves around the stains. In minutes a beautiful fan picture emerged. Su Kunsheng lauded his skill and, clapping his hands, said, "Excellent! It's really a peach blossom fan!" Their laughter caused Li Xiangjun to wake up. She hurriedly stood up and asked them to be seated. Smiling, Yang Longyou handed the fan to Li Xiangjun and said, "I have a fan picture for you."
Taking it, Li Xiangjun said, sorrowfully, "It is an old fan of mine that has been spoiled by blood stains. Why should I look at it?"
"There is a picture on it that you have not seen," Su Kunsheng replied.