After the truth came to light, the entire Ming family was in an uproar.
Even Duke Zhen was about to order his servants to set up a carriage on the spot and send Ming Huashang straight back to the commoner Su family.
In the end, his shizi1 Ming Huazhang who couldn’t overlook this came forward to stop him.
Only then did Duke Zhen reluctantly give up.
But even so, Ming Huashang was driven to a remote side courtyard and left to fend for herself.
The real daughter, Su Yuji, changed her surname back to Ming, recognized her ancestors and returned to her clan.
The Ming Huashang in her dream continued to be a salted fish, eating and sleeping every day.
She didn’t take things too hard.
This was very much like Ming Huashang; no matter whether it was in the good or bad times, she would always insist on not making progress.
That was why one night with a bright moon after she fell asleep, she died silently.
She didn’t even know how she died.
After being startled awake from fright, Ming Huashang remained terrified in the darkness for a long time.
That heart-wrenching pain was ever present in her body and lingered for a long time.
She stared at her brocade screen for half the night and couldn’t shut her eyes until dawn.
Not long after, she was awakened by Zhaocai and Jinbao, and went to greet the Old Madam.
After thinking about it for half the night, Ming Huashang was much calmer when she went out that morning.
But she still couldn’t figure it out, who wanted to kill her? Why did they want to kill her?
Before Ming Huashang’s identity was exposed, she was just an ordinary girl in Luoyang who was part of a family recognized for its meritorious service.
Her father, Duke Zhen, Ming Huaiyuan, was a minister under Emperor Gaozong’s2 reign.
Now that the Empress was in power, the Ming family could not be placed in an important position, but with the shade of their ancestors there to protect them, they were not considered destitute.
There were a bunch of families like theirs in Luoyang, so they were nothing special.
Her mother, Wang Yulan, was a daughter of the Wang clan from Taiyuan3.
She was born to one of the most prominent aristocratic families belonging to the Five Surnames and Seven Families4, and had a very noble reputation.
However, under the suppression of Emperor Gaozong and the Empress, these families had already become empty shells with only good reputations to their name.
They no longer had any political influence.
Wang Yulan and Ming Huaiyuan had three children in total.
The eldest son didn’t survive and died at the age of two, so their remaining two children were their fraternal twins.
It was a pity that Wang Yulan also passed away after giving birth to the twins.
Ming Huashang and Ming Huazhang lost their mother at birth, and Duke Zhen lost his son and wife.
These losses made him use the remainder of his affection to treasure and dote on the twins.
For their sake, Duke Zhen didn’t even remarry.
All these years, his heart was single-mindedly attached to the brother and sister pair, he didn’t even have any shu children.
Her father had already inherited the noble title, but since her grandmother Ming, Zheng-Shi, was still alive, the family did not separate.
They lived with her second shu uncle, Ming Huaiyuan5, and his third di uncle Ming Huaihan.
Both uncles had married wives and started families, each having their own children.
These were all the members of the Ming family, and it wasn’t considered complicated.
Ming Huashang thought, was it the second branch, or the third branch who wanted to kill her?
It was possible.
Since momo Su dared to secretly switch the blood of the Duke manor, with such inferior blood flowing within Ming Huashang’s body, how could she deserve to continue living with Ming family?
Or was it that real daughter Su Yuji?
That would make sense as well.
After all, Ming Huashang replaced her identity, gained her relatives, and enjoyed wealth and honor in Luoyang, yet she shamelessly stayed with the Ming family.
It was reasonable for her to get angry enough to make a move.
Or was it her father Duke Zhen or her elder brother Ming Huazhang?
Each of them seemed to have a motive, but neither of them was conclusive.
The second branch and the third branch would eventually separate from the manor sooner or later.
Momo Su tampered with Duke Zhen’s blood, not theirs, so why would they want to get involved? To put it bluntly, even if their motive was to obtain the title and family property, the second and third branches should poison Ming Huazhang.
What’s the use of poisoning Ming Huashang?
The real daughter Su Yuji made an aggressive return and overthrew Ming Huashang, the fake daughter.
Ming Huashang had been swept out like dust, and took shelter in a remote courtyard where she kept to herself and didn’t scheme, so why would Su Yuji feel the need to kill her?
As for Ming Huazhang, it was even more unnecessary.
If he really wanted Ming Huashang to die, it would have been enough to not stop Duke Zhen in the beginning and let her go back to the Su family.
If there was an accident on the way there or at the Su family, making her disappear without anyone noticing would be guaranteed.
Why would Ming Huazhang make such an unnecessary move, let her continue to live with the Ming family, and then dirty his own space?
Then could it have been Duke Zhen? Ming Huashang tried to hypothesize it, but couldn’t imagine that her father, who used to grant all her wishes and always let her have her way, could be so heartless.
After being in a father-daughter relationship for so many years, would Duke Zhen have such an urge to kill her just because she was switched in by her elder and deceived the Ming family? Could it be that her father’s company and indulgence over these years were all pretend?
Ming Huashang’s head hurt from thinking.
She didn’t like this feeling at all, suspecting whether everyone around her wanted to kill her or not.
It wasn’t that she never doubted the authenticity of this dream, but everything was too detailed, from Duke Zhen’s subtle movements as he spoke in the dream and the behavior and actions of the people around her were exactly the same as in real life! Even until now, Ming Huashang could clearly remember the appearance of the real daughter Su Yuji.
Could a face she didn’t recognize appear in the dream? Ming Huashang didn’t know.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a forked road beside her, paused slightly, and suddenly changed direction.
世子 (shizi): official heir to a noble title, traditionally the eldest di son Wu Zetian’s late husband Now the capital of Shanxi province 五姓七望 (Five Surnames and Seven Families): These seven families were the most representative aristocratic families at one time.
Their political status was unmatched.
The families included: Longxi Li family, Zhaojun Li family, Boling Cui family, Qinghe Cui family, Fanyang Lu family, Xingyang Zheng family, Taiyuan Wang family No, he does not share the same name as the Duke, they use different “yuan”: the Duke name uses 渊 (yuān) whereas the second shu uncle uses 远 (yuǎn)
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