Chapter 44: The Black Bellied Heir
Alicia: Ooh, I’ll make the correction, and yes, it certainly looks like it.
Kirindas: Have you actually eaten snake?
Crystal Aris: I have a corn snake actually
Shira: I love this story too
Translated by Gumihou
Hosted at kitchennovel dot com
Seeing how quickly the marquis’ back disappeared out the gate, Su Nuan Nuan could not help her disdainful smile. She turned to order Hong Lian and Xiang Yun to collect some willow branches to make some wicker baskets in preparation for the fresh seafood, only to see the two girls clutching each other with pale faces, trembling with obvious fear. Seeing her turned towards them, Xiang Yun said in a faint voice, “Missy, j-just now, the master said that there are g-ghosts…”
“Just a regular old scene, and you’re both scared to this point?” Su Nuan Nuan rolled her eyes. “You can blame your master for being narrow minded and unoriginal, trying to scare me with this kind of lame tricks.”
“What’s ‘old scene’?”
Xiang Yun and Hong Lian glanced at each other in puzzlement. Su Nuan Nuan said helplessly. “It means old tricks that’s been over used to the point that it doesn’t work any more. Your master wants me to move back into the inner court, I refused, and thus the ghost trick. This kind of scene had been perfectly illustrated in the <<Higher Level Wife>>, there’s no way I’ll be afraid of it.”
“And, what’s the <<Higher Level Life>>” Hong Lian and Xiang Yun looked at each other in dismayed, why was it that every word that came out of their mistress’s mouth were all unreasonable things?
“It’s a novel, ah” After saying this, Su Nuan Nuan realized that she was thinking about a novel written by White Pear Blossom from her past life. Clearly this book would not be available here. However, there was no need to worry. Hong Lian and Xiang Yun had not been with their mistress since she was young, so shouldn’t be able to tell what books she had read, right?
A scene from the book suddenly occurred to her, and she quickly switched subjects and decided to resolve her situation according to that book. “Actually, let’s just forget about the book, we have been here for about half a year, have any of you actually seen a ghost? If there really were ghosts, wouldn’t it have appeared by now?”
“What if it’s something that only appears after being mentioned?” These two were certainly typical girls, both Hong Lian and Xiang Yun were extremely anxious.
“Then, we can be certain that those ghosts are actors hired by your master, or perhaps even your master pretending to be a ghost. With his extreme height it would be a simple thing for him to do.” Su Nuan Nuan nodded her head gravely.
“How can Missy be so sure?” Hong Lian and Xiang Yun clearly needed more reassurances than this.
“It’s all written in the <<Higher Level Wife>>,”[Gumihou: Damn, now I want to read this novel]
Since Su Nuan Nuan answered them so carelessly, there was no way for Hong Lian and Xiang Yun to convince her otherwise. Whatever, there was no way they could make Missy see reason with their arguments. However, there was still another issue, “Missy, master said there are snakes, snakes, ah! Those scary slimy things!”
“The backyard is all vegetable garden, where’s your overgrown grasses and trees? If there are any snakes, they’re probably introduced there by your master.” Su Nuan Nuan was getting impatient. These two maid certainly were useless, why was it that until now, neither of them have seen through his true nature, still trusting his words to be gold?
“Is that also written in the <<Higher Level Life>>?” The two maids have no concept of modern novels and the art of title making, and had misheard the name. Somehow mistaking ‘Wife’ for ‘Life’.
“That’s right.” Su Nuan Nuan nodded firmly.
Hong Lian and Xiang Yun, “… …”
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“Yi? Second brother is up early today. What? You have some things you need to do?”
It’s the five hottest days of the summer months, and Duan Tingxuan had to go to court early which meant he could not go scrounge for breakfast at Mei Yue Lou. Dawn came at around 3 to 5 am nowadays and that Nuan Nuan woman would only deign to wake up around 5 to 7 am. Thus, he allowed himself to be dragged onto a horse by Si Ping and both master and servant reached the front courtyard just in time to see Duan Tingye all gussied up and was speaking to the doorkeeper about something. Seeing that he was also about to go out, Duan Tingxuan quickly called him.
When Duan Tingye heard this most hated voice, he curse himself for bothering to slow down and speak to the doorkeeper. Why couldn’t he have left just two steps sooner? He really hated this elder brother of his from the bottom of his heart. From the time they were children, that man had always been outstanding, making his own achievements looked miserable.
Clearly his mother was father’s favourite, and he’s clearly the favoured son, however, with such an outstanding obstacle in front of him, no matter how much father favoured him, he could never be the heir. Why? Well that’s because the eyes of both the emperor and empress were watching.
Thus, Duan Tingye hated, cursed and envied of this brother. The more he could not be the heir, the more he wanted the position. Even with the eyes of both imperial couple on them, so what? All he had to do was wait for this elder brother to make some big mistake and allowed his own mother to speak up for him, wouldn’t father find a way to make him the heir?
However, the most hateful thing was that this Duan Tingxuan has a shrewd and oily character, as crafty as a white tailed old fox. Don’t bother mentioning big mistakes, even small mistakes could not be dug out. It’s been said that the fortunes within the political climate of the imperial courts are like the weather, rain and storm alternated in strange ways. It would not be difficult for a shrewd person to make a title for himself, so why did this brother of his did not let go of the little marquis title and go make a bigger name for himself? Can’t you let this younger brother of yours inherit the title?
Naturally, this kind of thinking was a little extreme, but Duan Tingye had always seen this half-brother of his as a thorn in his flesh. However, no matter how much he hated this brother of his, Duan Tingxuan was still the elder brother and heir. Thus, no matter how much he cursed and hated in his heart, he dared not defy the other.
As for Duan Tingxuan, he had little to no older brother kind of feeling for this younger brother. Perhaps he could feel Duan Tingye’s hatred for him and have developed a habit of casually bullying him whenever he felt like it. How two-face was this man, ah? The pitiful Duan Tingye could only held in a belly full of bad intentions, but was unable to out smart his elder brother. He could only make some small schemes behind the scene.
He had deliberately gotten up early to avoid this elder brother, so why did he have to meet Duan Tingxuan now? Nevertheless, Duan Tingye helplessly gave a greeting and said in a low voice. “Does brother have a task for me?”
“No, not really, I just haven’t seen you for a few days, where have you been?”
Duan Tingxuan smiled as he advanced and clapped a hand on his brother’s shoulders and half dragged this brother out the door. Anyone watching this scene will feel touched, while brothers from other families were fighting for power, look how intimate and close this pair of brothers look. The brotherly love between them was very moving. None of them knew that Duan Tingye was actually frightened to the point of tears: Just what does this rascal of a brother want from small me? These days money have been quite tight for me too, ah.
“Where could I go? I’m going to Bazhou for a trip, the horses there aren’t bad and father have asked me to pick out four horses for him.” Duan Tingye forced a smile, and heard Duan Tingxuan gave a he-he laugh. “Oh, is that so, very well, when you bring the horses back, I want two of them.”
“Elder brother, please don’t joke, for other things maybe, as for horses why would you want any? There are several Dawan breed in the stable, all given to you by the emperor and crown prince, ah. Why would you even have eyes for Bazhou horses?”
The Second Duan Master really couldn’t bear it: This rascal really liked to bully people too much, even if it’s about seizing opportunities, this was just too radical.
In fact, even this Duan Tingxuan also felt that he was, perhaps, going a bit overboard. He did not actually have any thing specific against this younger brother of his today, he was just bullying the poor man out of habit. However, in the end he’s still the little marquis with a thick face and even thicker skin. After a short pause, he loudly said, “The more the better, besides I want to know whether the Dawan breed are compatible with other good horse breeds, at any rate, make sure you send me two horses when the time comes.”
Very well, being able to get away after losing two horses was not bad. Duan Tingye agreed and was about to apply oil under his shoes and skate away when the hand on his shoulder tightened again. Then, Duan Tingxuan’s creepy hei-hei laugh floated over. “What’s the rush? I haven’t finished talking yet. Do you have any free time this afternoon? I’m feeling very happy today, so I’ll treat you.”
“And then leave the bill with me?” Duan Tingye looked askance at this elder fox brother.
“You’re the money keeper of this palace, surely you don’t expect me to pay up?” Duan Tingxuan’s face was perfectly innocent, which nearly caused Duan Tingye to spit up blood: Your mom, you think I don’t know? You could barely touch the bottom of the allowance in your hand, the entire palace will eventually go to you and now here you are crying poverty in front of me? If heaven is really fair, why didn’t they make you poor for real?
Naturally these were words that he had to choke back, just where did Duan Tingxuan’s money come from? As the emperor and empress’ intimate confidant, a good friend friend of the four imperial princes, not to mention intimate friend of the crown prince, even in his teen years he had carried out missions for the imperial family. Moreover, there were the imperial family businesses and stocks, just the yearly bonus alone was incredible. Just how much this incredible sum was nobody really knew.
If anyone were to ask, this fox would definitely deny it, there was absolutely no evidence to prove anything. Even if he had evidence he dared not confirm anything. After all though he was empress’ younger nephew, his existence could be summed up as ‘unloved by auntie, disliked by uncle’, if he even dared to bring this matter up, wouldn’t they just take this opportunity to squash him like a bug?
When Duan Tingye thought about this, tears almost fell from his eyes and resigned himself to the role of a villain. Originally, he was also someone who could ‘Dance beautifully with long sleeves’ and was an ‘Eight facet jewel’, however with Duan Tingxuan in front of him, the Imperial Family have no eyes for him. Therefore, how could he not hate this elder brother? No matter how much trouble he make for that brother it was all deserved, people don’t just destroy heaven and earth for no reason.
“Is there something you want? If so, please speak now.” Duan Tingye understood Duan Tingxuan, that rascal of a brother had probably seen something about him that made him unhappy and just wanted a chunk of his flesh. Might as well get it over with quickly and save his lunch money.
“I’m out of money, if you’re in a rush, just give me 1,000 liang of spending money first.” Duan Tingxuan opened his lion’s mouth wide and caused Duan Tingye’s vision to go black for a moment.
“1,000 liang? Where do I find such money?” Duan Tingye nearly fainted, this rascal was getting more and more out of hand. His demands just got worse and worse, ah. Wait, he said if I’m in a rush he wants 1,000 liang, what the- if I’m not in a rush would he want 10,000 liang?
Duan Tingxuan looked at his second brother and laughed, he said in a sincere tone, “Tingye, ah, we’re brothers, what’s a thousand liang of silver between brothers? Do you really need to look so shocked? Last time you did that job for the Hang Zhou Deputy Manager, dare you say that you did not use my name? After collecting the gratitude money from those people I haven’t even said a word. Now I want just 1,000 liang, why are you so full of excuses?”
The moment he heard the four words Hang Zhou Deputy Manager, Duan Tingye’s face turned white. He and the Hang Zhou Deputy Manager had business dealings between them, however the day the deal was supposed to be struck, those people had offended the four imperial princes. Duan Tingye, for the sake of his business had to appease the four princes, but having no clout of his own had used his brother’s name…[To be continue]
 White Pear Blossom is the author of this novel too, she is plugging her own novel. How cute!
No English translation, but here’s the Chinese link
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Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com
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