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    Chapter 54: This is the Consequence of Provoking Me

    Today, Li Rouer and her mother were the ones who had enraged He Zhiran. Seeing the officials chasing after others, she decided to confront Li Rouer again.

    Li Rouer was still sitting on the ground. When she saw He Zhiran approaching fiercely, her body instinctively recoiled in fear.

    "He... He Zhiran, what are you doing? Do you dare to strike me in front of these officials?"

    He Zhiran's gaze was devoid of warmth as she stared at Li Rouer. For every step Li Rouer took back, she moved forward.

    "I had intended to ignore your provocations, but you persistently challenged me."

    With that, He Zhiran raised her foot and ruthlessly stomped on Li Rouer's ankle, followed by a few more twists.

    Li Rouer screamed in agony.

    Unfazed by Li Rouer's suffering, He Zhiran showed no intention of stopping. She continued to kick Li Rouer where it hurt most.

    "I'm well aware of your petty schemes, and I think you know it too. Let me make this clear: if you behave yourself from now on, that's fine. But should you dare to provoke me again, I promise you'll wish you were never born."

    Li Rouer was in so much pain that tears and snot streamed down her face. At this moment, she finally realized the severity of He Zhiran's capabilities.

    "He Zhiran, for the sake of our past as close friends, please stop hitting me."

    "Close friends? When have you ever treated me as such?" He Zhiran couldn't help but sneer.

    Li Rouer had manipulated the original inhabitant of Zhiran's body, yet she still had the audacity to claim they were good sisters...

    He Zhiran intensified her assault, raining punches and kicks upon Li Rouer.

    Meanwhile, the ladies aligned with the Mo family were not idle either. Though they hadn't fully grasped the situation, they could tell that it was Li Rouer and her mother who had provoked He Zhiran.

    Thus, as He Zhiran relentlessly attacked Li Rouer, they also turned their aggression towards Lady Zhu.

    In no time, chaos erupted in the inn's courtyard, drawing countless onlookers.

    The one-sided battle swiftly concluded with the Li and He families pleading for mercy.

    He Zhiran's punishment on Li Rouer this time was ruthless.

    Li Rouer's face had swollen to the size of a steamed bun, her original appearance completely concealed. Her right arm was dislocated, hanging limply by her side.

    Panting heavily, He Zhiran glared at her with a warning glint in her eyes.

    "Li Rouer, remember this. This is what happens when you cross me. If you don't want today's events to repeat, it's best you keep your head down and mind your own business from now on."

    At this moment, Li Rouer was intimidated by He Zhiran and dared not retaliate despite her anger.

    However, she was inwardly resentful, her hatred for He Zhiran growing stronger.

    Why did He Zhiran, also a convicted exile, get to live a life of luxury, even after moral misconduct? The Mo family not only forgave her but defended her even more? To add to her frustration, the officials blindly aided He Zhiran without considering the facts.

    The more Li Rouer thought about it, the deeper her hatred grew. She longed to tear He Zhiran apart immediately!

    Alas, she was no match for He Zhiran at all...

    Taking advantage of the full crowd, several bailiffs seized the opportunity to loudly declare:

    "Today's rescue of Zhou Laoba by the He family was not as Li Rouer described. It was He Zhiran who taught our leader the method to save him; it was our leader who awakened Zhou Laoba, not He Zhiran. Li Rouer has been spreading baseless rumors, sullying He Zhiran's reputation.

    Even if He Zhiran doesn't deal with you today, we won't let you off. Leave now, and if we hear you spouting nonsense again, you'll face the whip."

    Upon hearing this, everyone's attention shifted to Li Rouer.

    They had thought that He Zhiran wouldn't risk her reputation to save someone. Now they realized that all along, it was Li Rouer who had been spreading false tales.

    At this, even those from the He family, who had aligned themselves with the Lis, grew displeased and began to criticize Li Rouer.

    The fiery-tempered Second Aunt rolled up her sleeves, grabbed Li Rouer's hair, and slapped her hard twice.

    "How dare you, Li Rouer, slander my Ninth Brother's wife like this? See if I don't beat you to a pulp today."

    Li Rouer cried out in pain, but apart from Zhu, no one from the Li family stepped forward to intervene.

    The other sisters-in-law from the Mo family also gathered around, scolding Li Rouer while retaliating on He Zhiran's behalf.

    To prevent any fatalities in public, the officials intervened, allowing Li Rouer to narrowly escape her fate.

    After venting their anger on Li Rouer, He Zhiran's fury subsided somewhat.

    She dismissed her sisters-in-law and the female relatives who had come to assist.

    Walking alongside He Zhiran, the sisters-in-law looked at her with expressions of guilt.

    The eldest sister-in-law spoke first, "Sister-in-law Ninth, it was our lack of trust in you that led us to believe Li Rouer's words and mistakenly think you had lost your virtue."

    The fifth sister-in-law chimed in, "Yes, it was all our fault. From now on, we won't blindly believe the slanderous words of those wicked people."

    He Zhiran smiled at them all, "There's no need for the sisters-in-law to blame yourselves. It's good that the misunderstanding is cleared up."

    Seeing that He Zhiran truly didn't hold a grudge against them, the sisters-in-law heaved a sigh of relief and escorted her back home.

    From his hidden vantage point, Mo Jiuye quietly returned to his room.

    He had just heard He Zhiran's voice engaged in a verbal spat with Li Rouer outside, and he'd even seen Li Rouer accompanied by a large group of people. Concerned that He Zhiran might be at a disadvantage, he had quietly slipped out of his room while everyone was distracted. It was him who had thrown the pebble that knocked out one of Li Rouer's teeth, hoping it would serve as a painful lesson to deter her. However, Li Rouer remained unrepentant. Mo Jiuye was already prepared to intervene again when he realized that He Zhiran's skills were unexpectedly sharp. Although he couldn't decipher her martial arts style, he could tell that her moves were undoubtedly taught by someone. After observing He Zhiran for several days, Mo Jiuye was now filled with countless questions about her. Unaware of Mo Jiuye's secret support, He Zhiran emerged victorious, and the triumphant group of women felt a surge of pride. Back in the capital, no one dared to provoke them either, but that was because of their status. Now, the situation was different. They could unite and, with their own strength, intimidate their adversaries into submission.

    This was an experience they had never had before, and they found it exhilarating.

    Second Sister-in-law warmly linked arms with He Zhiran, "Sister-in-law Ninth, if something like this happens again, don't forget to include us all."

    He Zhiran could see that after a few more such incidents, the ladies of the family would surely become battle-hardened.

    However, she rather enjoyed this sense of unity.

    "Alright, if anyone else dares to provoke us, I won't forget to call on Second Sister-in-law."

    "Me too, Ninth Sister. I can help as well," Mo Hanyue hastily declared, afraid that Ninth Sister might overlook her.

    Promptly, the other sisters-in-law, along with the Xie and Fang families, also expressed their willingness to stand alongside He Zhiran in any future conflicts.

    Everyone's mood was lifted, especially since He Zhiran had procured a large amount of supplies earlier that day. This made their preparations for dinner even more efficient.

    The Fang and Xie family members, perhaps mindful of benefiting from the Mo family's provisions, eagerly volunteered for tasks.

    While harmony reigned in the Mo, Fang, and Xie households, loud arguments could be heard coming from the huts where the Li and He families resided.

    The two families had already been at odds yesterday due to the dispute over the tent positions. Today, the He family women were enticed by Li Rouer to provoke He Zhiran, only to be soundly punished in return. The He family's resentment towards the Li family grew even more. If not for He Ming and He Liang's current state, they might have taken action against the Li family long ago. Thinking of the culprit behind all this, Li Yuer and Li Ruer went mad, shaking Li Rouer violently. "Li Rouer, you jinx! Back in the capital, Father found you so many good matches, yet you refused to marry. You insisted on marrying someone of high status, dreaming of becoming a Duke's wife. Now look where it got you! Mo Jiuye married his childhood sweetheart, He Zhiran, while you, an old maid lingering at home, can't contribute anything to the family. Instead, you keep causing trouble that implicates everyone. You're a jinx, intentionally making life difficult for the Li family!" Listening to Li Yuer's heart-wrenching words, Li Rouer could no longer contain her emotions. With one arm dislocated and in excruciating pain, she couldn't bear to hear any more.

    Like a demon possessed, Li Rouer pounced on Li Yuer, clamping her jaws fiercely onto her face.

    Li Yuer, writhing in pain, screamed and lashed out at Li Rouer with both her limbs.

    Seeing this, Li Ruer rushed to assist Li Yuer.

    Injured as she was, Li Rouer stood no chance against the two sisters, who soon pinned her down and began to pummel her relentlessly.

    Madame Zhu held little status within the Li family; witnessing her daughter being bullied, she dared not intervene. Gone was the arrogance she displayed when dealing with He Zhiran; instead, she turned to Li Liang for help.

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