Chapter 43: To Flee in Defeat
“What are your conditions?” Su Nuan Nuan asked in a depressed voice, the lines between her brows deepened.
“Am I such a petty person in your eyes?” Duan Tingxuan gave a bitter laugh, “Could it be that until now you refuse to trust me? I told you before, did I not, that for your parents’ sake I did my very best.”
Hong Lian and Xiang Yun had mentioned the matters at Ping Guo Governor to Su Nuan Nuan. Right now she stared at Duan Tingxuan’s helpless expression, and felt that she could trust him in this matter, at least. Though she really did see this man as a rascal, it was only on matters between man and woman that he was a total slag. On matters of business and politics, Hong Lian and Xiang Yun assured her that his work was meticulous and without fault: At this very least, this thing have some sense of responsibility.
’“I never said anything about not trusting you. On my parents’ matters, I thank you for your effort. In the end, I am only a woman, and as such I realise that for you to be able to secure my family’s life is already a miracle. At that time I was under great pressure and turmoil and did not know better. Please don’t take to heart all the things I’ve said before this.”
These were all major events that happened recently, Su Nuan Nuan also ‘remembered’ how Su Meng Nuan had quarrelled with Duan Tingxuan over this many times. Though she had taken over this body, she still could not acknowledge the former owner of this body. That Su Meng Nuan was just too much of a trouble maker. No wonder even a thick face, shameless thing like Duan Tingxuan would eventually suffered an injury to the heart.
Duan Tingxuan stared blankly at Su Nuan Nuan, after a long time he suddenly smiled, “Did you actually say this? Heavens, I never thought I’d live to see this day of seeing my sins all cleared away.”
Su Nuan Nuan’s stare suddenly sharpened into a glare: This rascal would insist on grabbing a mile after granted an inch, wouldn’t he? She should beat this snake with a stick right now. When Duan Tingxuan finally noticed her tigress glare, he immediately knew that he should quite while he’s ahead.
He quickly rearranged his face into a contrite expression and said in a sad voice. “A few days ago, your father encounter an accident at the quarry, he almost died while quarrying for rocks.”
At this, Su Nuan Nuan’s express paled. When Duan Tingxuan saw this, he quickly reassured. “Please don’t worry. He was more shocked than hurt. The day he was sent to Ox Head Mountain, I have already made all the proper arrangements. The supervisor for the Ox Head Mountain quarry is one of the empress’ people and I managed to lean on him to get your father a relatively cushy job. The supervisor would not dare to defy me. When the accident happened, he managed to use it as an excuse to find a better place for your family to rest and recover. They no longer have to do any more quarrying, and though it was not a luxurious lifestyle, they could at least eat their fill and keep warm.”
Su Nuan Nuan breathed out a sigh of relief. She said in a low voice, “Then, I should thank you. It’s just, the matter of my father’s punishment was set out by the emperor. If you continue to intervene for them, wouldn’t it create trouble for you?”
Duan Tingxuan stared intently at Su Nuan Nuan. It was as though it was the first time he encountered this woman. After staring a bit more, he suddenly smile. “Nuan Nuan, you’ve certainly gain a lot of sensibility these days. As for that matter, your father’s blame was not great. He was most probably betrayed by someone. However, at that time the Son of Heaven was enraged, thus I could not say too much on behalf of your parents. Even preserving their lives wasn’t easy.”
“However, it’s been a long time, and the emperor’s rage had receded. He did not view your father under such negative light any more. More importantly, if there were any schemes involved, the emperor would find out sooner or later. When that time comes, I’m afraid your parents probably won’t regain their former social standing. If you think about it, it would take great effort for a normal person to admit their mistakes, the emperor with his great pride would find it even more difficult, don’t you think so? However, I could still arrange it so that your family would not have to worry about food and clothing.”
“It would be best if it doesn’t create trouble for you. As a woman, even if I wish to assist my parents, aside from fruitless worrying, there’s nothing I could do. Their lives completely depend on you, so I shall formally request for you to take care of them.” Su Nuan Nuan seemed intend on surprising Duan Tingxuan today no matter what, she even stood up and bowed seriously to him. For Su Nuan Nuan, she believed that this was something that she, as the new owner of this body, owed him.
“I dare not receive such politeness from Madam.”
Respect should be mutual, seeing his wife bowing so low, the little marquis also rushed to stand up and return the bow. The formal situation made him adopt the term ‘Madam’ instead of ‘Nuan Nuan’, while speaking, he stole a glance at Su Nuan Nuan’s face. However, the other party did not seemed moved by his words, which made the little marquis a little disappointed, however, a thought occurred to him: Since Nuan Nuan harboured such hatred against him, being able to reach this point probably has something to do with divine intervention. Surely there was no way that this small favour would repair their broken mirror? If things were really so simple, would she still be the Tigress of Mei Yue Lou?
“It’s late, the master had eaten and drank his fill, shouldn’t he return? Otherwise, wouldn’t elder madam and his two other wives be worried sick?”
As expected, the order to leave has been given out. Duan Tingxuan sighed mightily in his heart. However, this came as no surprise, and therefore he did not fall too far into despair. He even half jokingly said. “If I recall correctly, someone asked me for my conditions over this favour.”
“You recalled wrongly.” Su Nuan Nuan’s phoenix eyes narrowed once more. “My question is what kind of conditions you have.”
“Yi, I may have some after all.” Duan Tingxuan stroked his chin: “How about returning to the inner court? I can arrange for people to break down the walls of one of Chun Feng Yuan’s wing and turn it into a kitchen and store house. We could even dig up an icehouse.” The marquis sent out a generous lure for her.
“Mei Yue Lou’s architecture is more suitable for an icebox, there’s also no need to break down any walls. All you have to do is send some people over to clear up this place a little.” Since this rascal was actually somewhat useful today, Su Nuan Nuan elected to use a more tactful tone when rejecting his offer.
“Do you know why a nice court like Mei Yue Lou is left to collapse like this?” Duan Tingxuan lightly tapped on the table, and began talking in a story telling voice. “This was originally built during my grandfather’s time. It was a pet project of his and no expenses were spared. Later, however, he had to move out because there were ghosts. In the end, no one dared to even approach this place, and it was left to slowly disintegrate…”
“Could you please change the topic?” Su Nuan Nuan gave Duan Tingxuan a bored look. “If it’s ghost, I’ve already seen more than my share in hell, you think I’ll be afraid of a few whimpy ghost here?”
Duan Tingxuan had nothing else to say, after huffing and puffing for a long while, he said. “That’s right, ghosts are nothing. However, the grass behind the courtyard is long, you’ll almost definitely see some snakes…”
“Oh, are there really snakes there? That’s wonderful, and here I was, worrying about getting the right ingredients for a Snake Soup. I was just thinking of getting you to catch some on your next hunting trip.” Su Nuan Nuan’s eyes sparkled.
As for the little marquis, he looked a bit flustered, his hand trembled. Finally, he shook his head quickly. “That…during hunting season, most of the snakes are scared off by the sound of horses, how could I catch any? You…since you’re so daring, you go catch them by yourself in the backyard.”
After saying this, he quickly escaped, his heart filled with grief and indignation. Is that person even a woman any more? Could it really be possible that a random passing soul had possessed her body? If that’s the case, not fearing ghost is fine, but snakes? Is that thing too brave or too foolish? Even I, a great martial artist, felt disgusted whenever I see those slinky, slimy creatures.
Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com
For anyone who wants to chat with me, do come over to discord !