Chapter 51: Cats Over Dudes
Translated by Gumihou
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Madam Yang’s whole body trembled from suppressed anger, she knew that this Su Nuan Nuan didn’t really want to move back to the inner court, so what’s all this ‘doing mother-in-law a favour’ talk? For a moment, she was tempted to just call this horrible woman’s bluff and order her back into the inner court, that would serve her right, right? However, a sudden thought occurred to her, what if this was all just an elaborated reverse psychology trick? What if this was all just an extremely roundabout way of getting back to the inner court?
A sudden vivid image of her dear son being chased about noisily by this woman with her broom within the sanctuary of the inner court flashed through her mind’s eye and she shuddered. What if word got out to her own family’s ears? Wouldn’t she lose face for making this woman come into the inner court?
At this terrible thought, Madam Yang forcefully squashed down her impulse to just stir up some trouble and merely lightly harrumphed, flicked her sleeves and went away. Whatever, she did not care any more, let this woman do whatever she likes. As long as it is all done away from her sight.
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“This is steamed fish, don’t you think it goes really well with rice? You go on and enjoy it slowly, make sure not to choke. Just how many days have you been starving?”
Su Nuan Nuan stroked the now fluffy and clean cat’s back. The large cat’s eyes narrowed with pleasure as its large head bobbed within a large blue and white porcelain bowl, speedily eating the steamed fish and rice. Su Nuan Nuan felt extremely gratified. This cat clearly meant to be hers, look how greedily the way it eats, just like Nuan Nuan herself.
“Hm, what should I call you?” she touched her chin as she gave this matter a serious thought. After pondering over this important question for some time, she decided, “I’ll call you Zhao Chai (Welcoming Wealth).”
“Zhao Chai?” Hong Lian, who had been minding her own little duties nearly stumbled, she muttered, “Missy, surely you’re just joking, ba? Zhao Chai is… just too inelegant, how about calling it Kitty?”
“Zhao Chai is a male cat,” Su Nuan Nuan looked at Hong Lian seriously. “Does the name Kitty really suit him?”
“W… well, we still shouldn’t call him Zhao Chai, ah. It’s just not something that a wife of an heir would call their pets. Wouldn’t people who know about it laugh at us?”
“What’s so bad about Zhao Chai? Even the heir’s wife needs allowance money, ah. Having a name that welcomes lots of money and wealth into the house is lucky, let whoever wants to laugh just laugh. I like money, so what? Is there really anyone in the world who dislikes wealth? There are plenty of snobby people who pretended that it’s elegant to turn up their noses at the stink of silver, pei! A bunch of hypocrites. I, am a true commoner at heart, unlike them. It’s decided, he’ll be called Zhao Chai, how nice it is to have my own Lucky Cat (Zhao Chai Mao), ah? Aren’t I lucky? En, let’s call you Zhao Chai.”
Hong Lian looked at the large calico cat with pity in her eyes, she said on a soft voice, “Dear Kitty, it’s not that sister did not help you, but I am just a slave with no power against Missy’s decisions. How pitiful, from now own you will be known as Zhao Chai.”
“Miao…” the large cat looked up from his bowl with a brief mew and went back to his food. He did not seemed bothered by the name, Su Nuan Nuan could not resist laughing. “That’s right. Who cares about names? As long as there’s good food to eat, being called Doggy or Kitty is all the same.”
Hong Lian smiled helplessly and shook her head. “This thing is clearly no ordinary cat.”
She had hardly finished speaking when a loud yell burst out from the kitchen. “Su Meng Nuan. You poisonous woman aaaaaaahhhhh!”
Hong Lian leapt to her feet in fright, Su Nuan Nuan was unmoved. She neutrally said. “What’s with that reaction? It’s not like it’s the first time your master sneaked into the kitchen like a giant rat.”
Hong Lian said an anxious voice. “This slave knows that the master likes to visit the kitchen, but, just what was that loud scream about?”
Su Nuan Nuan gave a cold laugh, and stood up slowly to her full height, stretching her back. She drawled. “There’s nothing for him to steal in the kitchen. For a rat who developed a taste for my food, isn’t that something to scream about?”
At the end of her statement, Duan Tingxuan suddenly appeared in front of her like a shooting star and cried. “Flash Cook Shrimp & Eel Noodle? Pig’s ears? Snacks? How come there’s not even a scrap of pickled mustard left? Are you moving house?”
“Where am I supposed to move to, ah?” Su Nuan Nuan gave Duan Tingxuan a smile that was clearly not a smile. “Man slut, you best just get that thought out of your head. I did not even relent in front of old madam, I’ll never move back to that inner court to play intrigue games with all your other women.”
Duan Tingxuan sank like a ball with a leak onto the floor, he gloomily said. “I knew it, not even granny could convince you. It’s just, how could you not even give her a little face? Fine, fine, whatever, let’s talk about something else. I’m asking you now, where are the things in the kitchen? Why did it looked like someone have cleaned it out?”
Su Nuan Nuan, “I made lunch at the big kitchen and told Ms. Xue to just take whatever looks edible to serve the ladies. I’m too lazy to cook at night so there’s only a bit of rice and two steamed fish…”
Without hearing the rest, Duan Tingxuan’s eyes brightened, he began to drool. “There’s no need for anything fancy; since the fish are made by you, they must be delicious, where are they now? Quick, bring me some.”
Su Nuan Nuan laughed, amused. “Just look at the sky, it’s already dark. Do you think we’d actually wait for you? It’s all eaten up.”
“What? All eaten up?” the little marquis’ eyes glowed like a starving wolf’s. “Is… is there none left? Not even a little bit?”
“Well, there was a bit of rice and half a fish…” Su Nuan Nuan drawled. Without waiting for her to finish Duan Tingxuan seized her sleeves. The rascal’s eyes filled with stars as he hopefully asked. “Where? I’m fine with leftovers, we’re husband and wife of 5 years after all. Haven’t we shared all kinds of things together? I’m fine eating your leftovers.”
“Let go.” Su Nuan Nuan’s face grew red, this Duan Tingxuan really has no sense of shame to say all these nonsense in front of the maids. Even if he did not want his face she still liked to keep hers.
“Where is it? Speak,” The little marquis really could not stand it any more, his killing aura started to brew up. After working all day outside he was really hungry now.
“There!” Su Nuan Nuan jerked her head, Duan Tingxuan looked eagerly at the direction she indicated… only to see Zhao Chai, the large calico cat. He was distracted for a moment and said without thinking, “You like cats? You should say so earlier, I’ll get a Persian cat for you, those are nicer looking, much better than these common… cats…”
The rest of his words trailed off as his brain finally caught up with what his eyes were truly seeing. That large expensive bowl with blue patterns… like a hungry tiger he lunge over and pointed a trembling finger at the content of the bowl. Even his voice started to vibrate as he stared at Su Nuan Nuan. “This… this is…”
“The leftover rice and half a steamed fish.” Su Nuan Nuan spread out her hands to indicate helplessness. “Our master is the heir of a rich house, surely you won’t quarrel with a cat over food, ba?”
Duan Tingxuan really could not bring himself to snatch food from a cat. However, the expected flare of killing intent did not come, the little marquis was like a man whose bones had been ripped out of him. He sat paralysed on a chair at a slightly tilted angle, “I work hard outside everyday running errands, working myself to the bone for the prosperity of this family. For the prosperity and ease of all members of the family I have sweated blood and tears. To think, to think that my position is actually… lower than a cat?”
As he spoke, the little marquis lifted his head and stared straight at Hong Lian with tears glistening in his eyes. “Tell me, am… am I such a despicable person? To the point that you’d rather give leftovers to the cat and not me? I… fine, it looks like my sincerity might as well be spilled water to you. If that’s the case, I bid you all a good night, I shall take my leave…”
[Gumihou: … I’m kind of sorry for the man slut now.]
 Zhao Chai – Welcoming Wealth or Calling/Inviting Wealth
 Zhao Chai Mao – Lucky Cat
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Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com
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