Chapter 20: Single Snake Battle Formation
Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com
“Eh, this…one man’s meat is another man’s poison. It’s possible that Su Nuan Nuan just likes sunning beans at the entrance?” Actually, Duan Tingxuan was quite aware that Su Nuan Nuan was filled with evil intentions. However, since he had eaten her sweet You Ping this morning, he did not mind spending a couple of words in her defence.
Xu Ran Yun’s phoenix eyes narrowed slightly. The reason why she had not revealed everything from the beginning was to discern the depth of her husband’s feelings for that woman. Now that she knew, her heart sank: Looks like Madam Yang was right, heaven knew why but the lord had taken interest in those three women at Mei Yue Lou, enough to improve their pitiful living conditions. This cannot be a good thing.
Her gaze gently swept towards Concubine Jiang who had, until then, not said a single word. As soon as their eyes met, Concubine Jiang knew her role and leapt up to say. “Did master regret it? It’s as if master can’t stop talking about first madam. If that’s the case, then master really shouldn’t have banished them to Mei Yue Lou in the first place, her anger seems to have gotten even more potent, what should we do now?”
“Who said I regretted anything? I was just being thoughtful…this…people indulged in different kinds of hobbies, right?”
Duan Tingxuan tried to cover his lame excuses by talking loudly. Actually, ever since he’d eaten those fragrant dishes at Mei Yue Lou, he bitterly regretted his hasty decision more than once. Now he wanted the three of them back to the inner court, but was too ashamed to say so. Moreover, he could not bear to admit his own mistake here, right in front of his own wife and concubine. When it came to the matter of face, a lord must never own up to any mistakes no matter what, even if he had to become a dead duck then so be it.
Xu Ran Yun was infuriated by her husband’s stubborn attitude, she sneered, “Why is my lord yelling so loudly? Please don’t vent your shameful frustrations at us sisters here, go and direct it at the first madam. Who do you think those beans are for? Heh heh! It’s certainly not prepared for this lowly one. First madam did not even know I was coming. I shall tell you frankly, those beans are prepared especially for you, that trap is created with you in mind. What ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’, what ‘First madam likes to sun beans at the entrance’, what ‘thoughtfulness’, I could almost die from laughing at these words.”
“What? A trap for me? It can’t be.” Duan Tingxuan jumped up like a cat whose tail had been stepped on, shaking his head like a rattle. “It can’t be, this can’t be. I just sent them some rice and beans this morning, Hong Lian and Xiang Yun were all very cheerful, so why…”
The prince paused without finishing his words. Perhaps it’s best that the rest of these words remained unspoken. As expected, the wife before him had eyes as wide as gold fish’s, her mouth dropped open so wide that he could probably fit a whole chicken egg in. Clearly, she was very shocked.
Without waiting for him to utter any face saving words, Concubine Jiang’s high pitched voice suddenly cried. “Master, what are you saying? You’ve been to Mei Yue Lou, and even gave them things?”
“Ahem…that…I… having thrown them there for half a year, I had a sudden thought to take a look because I was worried they’d starve?” Duan Tingxuan answered a little mechanically. His face sank as he felt his image as a majestic and dignified husband collapsed in the eyes of his wife and concubine. But then he hardened his resolved and decided to go on the offence. He gave Xu Ran Yun a serious look. “This an oversight on your part as well, Ran Yun. I heard that it’s been a long time since they received their allowance.”
Xu Ran Yun began to panic a little, her head drooped as she said. “Does my lord blame me? There are many things to take care of in the mansion, and Mei Yue Lou situated in a remote corner, it easily slipped my notice. What kind of question is this, my lord? This day would not have occurred if my lord did not send them over to Mei Yue Lou, wouldn’t it? What was the reason you sent them to that place? And yet, here you are blaming me.”
Duan Tingxuan was not really angry in the first place, seeing Xu Ran Yun with her head down he felt that he should not pursue the matter. At any rate, the mistress and servants living at Mei Yue Lou seemed quite comfortable. So comfortable that it made his teeth ache. He stood up and paced a few times. Suddenly, a what Xu Ran Yun had said struck his mind. He turned an angry face at her and said. “What you said is true? Nuan Nuan’s bean trap…was set up for me?”
“Why should I lie?”
Xu Ran Yun saw that her husband was still stuck on this ridiculous route, could not help her cold smile. “If my lord does not believe me, you may ask her yourself. From what I can see, she has no fear of authority. Earlier, I and a few other servants were there when she grandly declared that she is not afraid of you, and that the bean trap was prepared just for you. If it did not come from her mouth, would this one dare to say it?”
Duan Tingxuan whose face was now as black as the bottom of a soothy pot, stamped his foot: “That bossy woman is getting out of hand, just watch how I take care of her.” So saying, he flicked his sleeves and left.
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At this point, Concubine Jiang breathed a sigh of relief, only to hear Xu Ran Yun laugh coldly: “Heh heh! I knew it would turned out this way. Since this woman has acted in such an outrageous way, the lord would not just let this matter go. Otherwise, he would not be the lord any more.”
Concubine Jiang also laughed, “Isn’t it? Our master may be a lusty sort, but he would never let a woman climb over his head. Even that Madam Lan with her city shattering beauty could not turn him into the docile sort. A bossy, jealous woman like that would never stand a chance. This is great, Madam can now rest easy.”
“Amithaba, let us hope so.” Xu Ran Yun murmured as she pressed her palms together. From this behaviour, it was clear that she has underestimated the impact of delicious food on a hidden foodie, otherwise she would never have imagined that this little interference could ever remove future troubles.
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As for Duan Tingxuan, when he rushed out of the inner court, the sun had already touched the tip of the mountains. Normally this was time when he was supposed to go and greet his parents and grandparent, however he had more pressing business today. After getting a maid to send his excuses to his elders, he set off for Mei Yue Lou.
When he reached the entrance to Mei Yue Lou, he saw that chairs and tables had been arranged on the balcony. Su Nuan Nuan was sitting in one of the chairs, chatting with Xiang Yun and Si Ping. Even though she clearly saw him, she did not bother to stand up to welcome him, instead she just smiled at his direction, her mouth busy chatting about this and that. Xiang Yun and Si Ping both looked a little anxious. The smiles on their faces obviously forced, looking more miserable than a crying face.
Was such an abnormal sight a hint of what’s to come?
After having exchanged a few blows with Su Nuan Nuan, Duan Tingxuan immediately heightened his awareness and took a bold step forward. His foot slipped a little. At this point, he remembered Xu Ran Yun’s words, and felt rage growing in his heart: Very well, this damned woman, looks like you haven’t given up your ways. So you’ve set your trap, but did not bother to change it even though it has been exposed. Clearly you lacked forethought in your rush to trap this lord of yours, do you think this lord is stupid?
The little marquis was getting angry: You dare look down on this lord? Hmph! Intolerable, this time I must let you know my power, otherwise I shall take your surname.
Though many things went through his mind, it all actually happened in a flash. Duan Tingxuan stubbornly did not look at his footing, eyes glaring up at Su Nuan Nuan as he sedately entered the courtyard step by step. The beans trodden by him all crushed into bean powder.
Clearly not expecting Duan Tingxuan’s martial power to be this extraordinary, Su Nuan Nuan’s face showed pure astonishment. Duan Tingxuan felt proud of himself. So you want to set traps for me, hmph! Hmph! So you want to flip the heavens and set traps, for what? To kill your husband? If I do not teach you a lesson today, you would just climb on top of my head, won’t you? Unacceptable, I can’t indulge this bad habit of yours.
Today was the day that he would finally get the opportunity to vent his frustrations on some righteous actions. As he was feeling pleased with himself, his gaze suddenly caught Si Ping’s anxious face and felt a chill down his spine. He was about to stop himself, but it was too late.
The sole of his foot touched something hard, the soft sound of a sensitive spring going off sounded like a gong in his ear.
At this critical moment, Duan Tingxuan’s finely honed martial arts which he had spent years polishing day after day showed it’s best impact. In a flash, his body sailed to the air, flipping twice before he finally saw the mechanical device he had stepped on. He landed in a safe spot, cold sweat beading his brow. Turning around, he saw more than ten mousetraps glittered like frost on the ground, they were laid out in a line, their mechanical jaws wide and jeering.
“You crazy woman.” Duan Tingxuan flashed up to the balcony like lightning. He pointed a finger at Su Nuan Nuan’s nose, yelling, “Just because I ate some of your food you want my life? Setting up just one trap was not enough, you even put up mousetraps in a Single Snake Formation, you…don’t go too far.”
The earlier surprised look may have been fabricated, but Su Nuan Nuan’s current astonished admiration for this rascally man was clearly real: Such a well calculated trap was avoided by this man, more importantly, was that the legendary qing gong?
When she thought of this, her eyes lit up like hungry wolf’s. She stood up with a warm smile. Without so much as a ‘by your leave’, she grasped both of Duan Tingxuan’s hands, shaking it like she had just seen her most beloved relative. Her lips quivered, her voice bubbling with excitement as she said, “What was that skill just now? Eight Step Trapping Cicada? Single Reed to Cross Jiang River? Collect Duckweed to Cross Water? Tiny Steps Over Waves? Three Swallows Raid Water? Cross Snow Without Footprints? Aiya, what was it? Come sit and tell me all about it.”
All Duan Tingxuan could do was blinked, and blinked some more, unable to trust his eyes as he stared at this crazy excited woman in front of him. He stammered, “You…you don’t think you can just confuse, I’m…I’m telling you, you…today have provoke…provoked me…this matter is not resolved, so don’t think just because you’re so friendly that…hm? What’s that smell? Did you stew one of those ducks?”
Si Ping watched as his master did his best to reprimand first madam, though it was not going well, it still held some manly dignity worthy of the head of house. Who knew that the man he worshipped suddenly switched character in the middle of his words. Master, you should at least finished what you were saying, do you really think that first madam suddenly ingratiating herself to you is a good thing? And why did the topic suddenly turned towards those ducks?
From the Author: I’m just saying, though badly bullied the prince is still pretty energetic, right? Hehehe!!! Please click on the recommend tickets and collect, ou!
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Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com
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