Chapter 32: Shrewish Wife
Angel: Woo, I want to eat those things too
Crystal Aris:Hehe, I like snakes too
Nadying: So shameless
Maru: I’m so jealous!!!
Moto: We all want to see him punished
Queu: His inner kid is coming out
“Su Meng Nuan, you crazy woman, you really want to murder…fu- incoming…”
Duan Tingxuan’s handsome face had gone white. He’d not finished yelling when another piece of rock came flying at him. At that, he decided not to challenge Su Nuan Nuan any more. He turned, tucked the Sugared Fried Dough protectively against his chest, and activated his qing gong to dash off in a zigzagging fashion, all the while hugging his head to protect against further assault.
“Missy, this… this is… you really shouldn’t do this, ah.” Hong Lian had seen the whole strange performance, and could only urge herself to dash forward once it was over. She hurried to Su Nuan Nuan’s side and grasped her sleeves anxiously, shaking her head like a rattle, saying, “The Master only took a couple of those Sugared Fried Dough, surely, surely there’s no need to throw rocks at him? What if you really injured him…”
“Those bits of stone are smaller than my fist, how could they possibly do any significant injury against that?” Still fuming, she clapped the dust off her hands and smiled bitterly. “Haven’t you notice? Your Master is actually a rat, if we don’t act decisively against rats he’ll probably move all the food from my kitchen tomorrow. That said, why are you so worried for him? You see the way he run? Faster than a speeding comet, even faster than the rock I threw. The f**k, is that thing even human any more? He must be an evil spirit.”
Though her words were crude, in all honesty Su Nuan Nuan actually never uttered any rude words at all in her previous life. The fact that the rude words came poring out now was evidence of how pissed off she was against that shameless food thief, Duan Tingxuan!
Hong Lian poked her head out to take a look, and sure enough, in that short time even the Master’s shadow could no longer be seen. She could not help thinking that this was really curious and funny, and shook her head, “I really can’t understand, the two of you must be natural born enemies. Missy said that Master stole your food, but why would the Master steal food? Isn’t Missy being too strict over nothing? After all, it’s just two pieces of fried dough, so what if you just let him have it? Perhaps he would bring even more nice ingredients for you. Though you go against the master like this, the fried dough was still taken away and nothing was achieved. Why would Missy even bother?”
“It makes me happy, so?” Su Nuan Nuan poked Hong Lian’s nose lightly with her finger. “We must take every precaution against that cunning, greedy rat master of yours. Otherwise, if you let him off with two fried dough today, he’ll want a whole basket tomorrow. The day after that, who knows what.”
“Is master really as greedy as Missy said?” Hong Lian really could not agree. This maid really could not find fault with Duan Tingxuan, and felt he was the best master they could ever have. Being so lenient even after his wife mistreated him to such an extent, and doing nothing to cast her aside, it was almost romantic.
“Not greedy? Didn’t you hear what he said? Want a few roasted ducks, very well, did he think I can make roasted ducks just by sneezing? Also, a few?”
“Well, since it’s for the East Palace’s crown prince, surely it’s better to bring more than one? Also, the master did say he may eat half, it would be a little unreasonable to bring less, Master is not wrong to say this.”
“Then why did he want to go and eat half? And how come we’re not talking about the crown prince eating half a duck?”
“Um, this is only heresay, but this maid has heard that though the crown prince is a brilliant man, his focus of study had been towards administration of country and less time was spent on martial arts practices. Also, he was quite fat, so… if the two of them got into a fight over food, his highness would not be able to win against our master.”
“…fighting over food with the crown prince? Such a creative transgression, only that slag male could do something so daring. He’s really an evil spirit.”
Both maid and mistress chatted as they entered the house. A quarter of an hour later, a pair of woman appeared from behind a tree near the entrance. It’s Xue Zi Lan and her personal maid Long Yan.
Long Yan only managed to say that single word and was stuck. The shock on the pretty maid’s face had not yet disappeared, the terrible scene from the just now was still running through her head.
Xua Zi Lan sighed, and muttered. “So this is the way the Lord and first madam gets along. Just…when did the two of them reach this level of intimacy? The Lord has never tolerated those who went against him, why would he endure first madam’s aggressive behaviour? Are those few dishes really that important? So what if it’s delicious? It’s not like they’re pastries that fell from heaven.”
Xua Zi Lan was really in shock. When she had first gotten information from Concubine Jiang, she had dismissed them as Madam Yun exaggerating things in order to trick her to make a move against Mei Yue Lou. In her heart, the relationship between Duan Tingxuan and Su Meng Nuan had finished long ago. There was no way they could ever be in good enough relationship to live in harmony.
Therefore, she had ignored Madam Yun’s hint and had not instigated anything in front of Madam Yang. However, to be on the safe side, she decided to investigate this matter personally. It turned out to be something that those not in the know don’t know what’s up, and those who saw would jumped up. Things were actually worse than what Madam Yun had reported, it had advanced to the ‘Happily scolding and flirtatiously smacking’ level. If they managed to reach the ‘Quarrelsome but loving couple’, it’s likely that all previous grudge would melt away like ice in summer. At that point, is there any way for her survive this?
This time, she really could not stand by and look on without doing anything.
On the way back, Xue Zi Lan made up her mind.
Looking at the situation now, she was a little glad, glad to have personally come and investigate this matter herself. When she saw Duan Tingxuan coming this way, she had hidden herself in order to peek, and had seen that weird performance with her own eyes. Otherwise, she would never have believed it. Would have inadvertently allowed this matter to fester, if these two were to really develop a ‘hot and heavy’ kind of relationship, what would happen in the future? She really could not bear to think about it.
“Madam, the master’s attitude towards first madam…seems quite indulgent. Perhaps Madam should just keep away?” Hearing Long Yan’s quiet voice from her side, Xue Zi Lan paused and gave a bitter smile. “That won’t do, the Lord is a sentimental one. In the past, while it looked like Xu Ran Yun and I are at opposing sides, we’re actually working together to push her to the limits. It was only through this, and her own self destructive ways that the Lord finally lost his feelings for her.”
“If I were to let this go and the Lord returns her to the inner court, she will have a place in his heart again. By then, the unlucky one won’t just be Xu Ran Yun, you believe first madam will let me go? Why do you think Xu Ran Yun tried to force my hand? Because she knows I have no choice. Without the lips, the teeth will feel cold, who doesn’t understand this?”
“Then, what should we do, Madam? In the eyes of elder madam and the master, you have always been a gentle sort. If you openly incite disharmony, then, wouldn’t all the previous effort be wasted?” Long Yan quickly advised caution, afraid that her mistress would try and urge Duan Tingxuan to abandon that woman.
However, Xue Zi Lan kept her head down, ignoring her maid’s concern. After muttering to herself for a while, she said in a soft voice, “I will not speak to the Lord about this matter. The ones who hated first madam is not limited to myself and Xu Ran Yun. It’s better if elder madam handle this one personally, I do believe Xu Ran Yun have also thought about this. Hmpf! Since the matter is like this, I can no longer cower back, I won’t let her play a virtuous role either. We will see the elder madam together and make our explanations.”
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Su Nuan Nuan did not have the slightest idea that Xu Ran Yun and Xue Zi Lan had decided to coordinate their act together because of her. If she realised that the two of them were scheming to make sure she remained in Mei Yue Lou, she would have been so touched. To the point of paying money to commission a large banner with the words ‘Pleasure From Helping Others, Noble of Character & Unquestionable Integrity’ on it as a gift for them.
After the Dragon Boat Festival, the weather got hotter. Elder Madam Yang was already over forty years old and was steadily moving towards being overweight. She prefers the cold and because of the heat, was reluctant to move.
The heat felt exceptionally strong today, so she only wore a light chiffon dress with a thin upper garment and sat before a window with two maids fanning her, but still the heat felt unbearable.
When she heard that both Madam Yun and Madam Ran had arrived, she sat up with a smile as they entered. “How nice to be young, you can still move around even in this heat, I really can’t bear it. Even the old madam has excused my presence for the daily greetings. I’m lucky that she’s so understanding, otherwise I really don’t know where to put my face.”
Xue Zi Lan smiled, “Though the old madam is strict with the rules, she is not a person without sympathies. The inner court is aware that elder madam fears the heat and old madam certainly knows this.” So saying, she sat upon the embroidered bench before Madam Yang and took out a handkerchief to wipe her forehead. “Today’s heat is really incredible, my head is all sweaty too.”
Her voice fell suggestively, but she said nothing as she made eye contact with with Xu Ran Yun. Xu Ran Yun took the cue and stepped forward with a smile, “Speaking about the heat, I just remembered something. During the Dragon Boat’s festival at old madam’s place, the Lord brought something interesting called a smoothie. On such a hot day, it would be the perfect way to cool down, why don’t elder madam have some?”
Madam Yang said gloomily, “Do you really think I have such a thing? Where do you think I should get it from?”
Xu Ran Yun pretended to be surprised. “How could this be? The Lord had always been the filial sort, he knew that elder madam really fears the heat, how could he not bring this good thing to show his filial consideration towards elder madam?”
Madam Yang snorted coldly, “Why should I hold back anything at this point? Xuan’er is now an adult, naturally did not place any importance on this old mother of his.” Even mentioning this matter made her depressed.
On these terrible hot days, she kept thinking about that smoothie, however she felt reluctant to speak to her son about it, wishing that he would offer it up as part of his filial duty and not let her ask after it first. Who would have known that until now nothing had appeared. In a temper, she had tried making the thing herself, but somehow it was never right. Who knows whether it’s down to method or flavouring, but somehow it was nothing like the one she had that day. Luckily the failed experiments could still relieve the heat a little, and was better than nothing.
The Zhou Ming family servant, after hearing this, chimed in from behind Madam Yang. “What Madam Yun say is not wrong. The Young Master had always been the filial sort, this kind of neglect is rare, I’m sure there’s a reason for it, though I do not know the reason.”
Xu Ran Yun breathed a sigh of relief. Good, this were the very words they have been waiting for. She made eye contact with Xue Zi Lan, it’s your turn now.
It just so happened that a maid brought the tea tray over, so Xue Zi Lan personally picked up a teacup and handed it first to Madam Yang before serving herself and sat down again. With utmost grace and tact, she said in a soft voice, “Auntie Zhou is correct. Naturally, there has to be a reason. Actually, even the Lord has difficulty getting his hands on this thing, therefore he could not send any here. The actual method is not difficult, just shaved ice with milk and fruit juice, we could also make ourselves.”
Madam Yang sighed, “I already tried making it. The flavour was a little off, goodness knows what the secret is. You say that your Lord has difficulty obtaining this, that day how did he get his hands on it for the old madam? Why is it that he could get hold of it then, but until now could not get his hands on any?”
Xue Zi Lan gave a bitter smile. “Elder madam, that day when you saw Hong Lian and Xiang Yun, did you felt anything odd? To tell you honestly, those four special dished are made by first madam. If you think about first madam’s attitude, she’s not the type that’s easy to get along with. Goodness knows why she was in such an excellent mood that day, coming up with four dishes like that. After that, when the Lord went back to beg for more dishes, it was like plucking a tiger’s teeth from its mouth. It’s already considered a win if he was not beaten up.”
[Gumihou: I’m a little afraid of these ladies….]
 Without the teeth, the lips will feel cold – Without one, the other won’t be able to exist well.
Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com
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