Chapter 79: Imperceptible Influence
Translated by Gumihou
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Qiu Ling pursed her lips into a smile, “Since old madam has determined that the first madam is truly a kindhearted person, this maid shall believe you. Since she now values the rules of the mansion, perhaps she has finally understood the value of love and family bonds?”
“You little hussy, what love and family bond? Just say that I am just greedy for her cooking.” Old Lady Fang laughed heartily. Qiu Ling quickly said, “Naturally, this maid is young and lacking in experience, unable to see a person’s true nature like old madam. Since old madam says that the first madam is someone who values the rules, then naturally first madam is someone who values rules. Who dares say other wise?”
“That’s more like it.” Old Madam Fang leaned back on her couch, picked up one pastry stuffed with fruits, and placed it in her mouth. She carefully rolled the taste within her mouth and nodded happily, “Tastefully balanced sweet and sour filling, gently flaking crust that melts in my mouth. Su Nuan Nuan’s snacks are even better than the imperial kitchens, how could I not favour her?”
“In other words, first madam saw through the real intentions behind this matter?” Qiu Ling said as she carefully read old madam’s mood.
The old woman nodded and said, “Because of this, Su Nuan Nuan’s actions was seen as punishing a few disrespectful servants. As the heir’s wife, she has the right to decide the life and death of servants, who dares say that she acted out of bounds? I have always been fairly amiable and wished to spend the rest of my life quietly. By the way, make sure you don’t let those petty wives and madams bother me. I want to eat good things in peace.”
“Aiyo, my dear old madam, you had better not eat anymore. The first madam already instructed us not to let you have too much sweet food. It’s not good for your teeth or body.” cried Qiu Ling when old madam reached out for another piece, she quickly seized the half empty tray and saw the old madam pouting like a child. She laughed, “Madam must be more patient as you age. Haven’t you heard first madam? There are still lots more good things you haven’t tried yet, you must protect your body and teeth in order to enjoy them.”
“Is that so? Then, take that tray away now, if you leave it here, greedy me definitely can’t resist.” Old Madam Fang’s face was black as she turned away from the snacks, waving a hand away in a grand show of ‘look how pious I am resisting this’. Qiu Ling could only stifled a laugh as she took away the tray.
Back at Chun Feng Court.
“Yi? The lord is back? And you’re chatting with third young master?”
Su Nuan Nuan stared at the brothers Duan Tingxuan and Duan Tingfang seated most harmoniously together in their chairs. Only, while Duan Tingfang was upright and proper in his chair, the supposedly dignified older brother Duan Tingxuan sat like he had no bones to support his frame. What a hooligan! The most hateful part of it was how this ugly way of sitting did not diminish an ounce of his noble and princely aura.
“Well? I heard you’ve been to second brother’s place, surely you haven’t suffer a loss, have you?” Duan Tingxuan looked his wife over before standing up for a closer look. Su Nuan Nuan’s glowing face and triumphant eyes told him all he needed to know.
Hong Lian and Xiang Yun exchanged a look, and thought: Master you be asking after the branch lady. I have a feeling she’s still bawling away in her room. With just a few words she had managed to get the servants singing out their confessions. This is enough fodder for half a year’s worth of jokes.
“The rational will always triumph over the irrational. I have logic on my side, how could I lose?” Su Nuan Nuan scowled, her inner tigress rearing up as her eyes fell upon Zhou Chai who was still resting upon the couch. She stroked the bandaged cat, only somewhat placated when a low ‘miwoo’ answered her.
“That… elder sister-in-law, it’s already midday. Sister and I should be taking our leave now. I wish to present this gift to sister-in-law. Our concubine mother personally embroidered these shoes with her own hands. Please accept them as a token of our appreciation.” Duan Tingfang stood up stiffly, presenting the shoes to Su Nuan Nuan. He really wanted to get out of this ridiculous situation and quietly lick his ruffled feathers at home.
“Aiya, how exquisite.” Su Nuan Nuan exclaimed, seizing the shoes and proceeded to stroke and sigh over them. After a while, she said, “Oh, but how could I? Such excellent craftsmanship, she must have poured her heart and soul into it. Let second sister wear them.”
Duan Tingfang said nothing. Duan Xinqu beamed and said, “Would elder sister-in-law please accept them. As long as you like them, concubine mother will be happy. Thanks to your kind benevolence, our lives have improved a lot. You have no idea how happy I was to see the way you take care of Granny Liu and the lot. When those servants stormed up to our doors the last time, my mother dared not…”
“Enough, sister.” Duan Tingfang cast a helpless glare at his sister, thinking: It’s over now, my pure and weak sister have turned into a blood thirsty beast after coming over to Chun Feng Court. For her to look up to this violent shrew of a woman as a role model, what was to become of her? Could she even get married in the future?
Duan Xinqu also knew that she had slipped up and bit her tongue, “We, we came here to send you these shoes. Now that you have received them, brother and I will depart. It’s late now, we dare not disturb your lunch time.”
“What’s the hurry? It’s rare for me to see you. Now that you’re here, stay for a meal. Did you not see the eggplants they brought in? Your brother has been anticipating this for more than a day or two now. Sit, sit, it’s not like we’ll starve from a late meal. You sit too, third brother. How old are you actually? And where did you pick up that fuddy old attitude from? Look at your older brother, his stiff official attitude is all gone now that he’s here. Relax a bit, don’t you know that sitting stiffly like that is tiring? If you sit like that every day who knows what your joints will be like when you’re older. Learn this one good thing from your brother, he’s a cunning old fox who knows when he should take advantage of opportunities.”
“Ahem, ahem, my dear wife. Would you please leave me some face before my dearest brother and sisters?”
The little marquis could no longer listen further anymore. As he spoke, he gradually sat up straighter and beamed unrestrainedly at Su Nuan Nuan who was herding Duan Tingfang and Duan Xinqu into some chairs. Then, she abruptly left the room with Hong Lian and Xiang Yun in tow.
Duan Tingfang sat uneasily in his chair, but when his brother said nothing to him, he slowly relaxed. Though he was usually rather cold and aloof, he was still a mere 18 year old youth, how could he not thirst for affections? That bustling care displayed by Su Nuan Nuan was something he had only received from his mother, he had never been treated with such warmth by anyone else before.
“Elder brother, when… when elder sister-in-law called you a fox, I think she was just joking. P-please don’t be angry.” Duan Xinqu had no time to worry about her brother’s personal crisis. Her only concern was elder sister-in-law, she was afraid that they had accidentally caused trouble for the couple.
Duan Tingxuan eyed this little sister of his before grinning, “That’s nothing. In fact, I’d say I’ve gone up social ladder in her eyes. When she was still at Mei Yue Lou, I was but a greedy rat in her eyes. Now that I’m a cunning fox, I’ve clearly been promoted a few species up.”[Puu!]
Duan Tingfang who had just taken a calming sip of tea, sprayed said tea from his mouth. Unfortunately, some went down the wrong pipe, and he began to choke. Duan Xinqu leapt up to assist her brother. Si Ping and Cong’er also rushed forward to help.
[Gumihou: Haha, Duan Tingxuan is hilarious here. At least he’s been promoted from rat to fox.]
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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