Chapter 97: Unspeakable
Translated by Gumihou
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com
Concubine Jing and Duan Xinqi immediately stood up. In old madam’s eyes, their status could not be compared to her personal maid Qiu Ling. A little smile appeared on Concubine Jing’s face as she inquired, “Why is Miss Qiu Ling here?”
Qiu Ling was a little shocked too, but then she smiled back and said, “Oh, it’s Concubine Jing and second young miss. What good timing, please come over with first madam. Old madam had been feeling bored for half a day now, she would be so happy if you would all come over to chat with her.”
Su Nuan Nuan said, “Of course we can go. Only, Miss Qiu Ling, please don’t tell me to conveniently bring some Snow Cream over. Because I really don’t have any left. Second young miss also came asking for more. I’ve told her there’s none, and I’m also telling you there’s really none left.”
Qiu Ling smiled at them, “First madam is certainly insightful, this servant’s heart is transparent to madam. If madam says there’s none, then there’s none left. When I brought some over to old madam’s place, I even pretended that it didn’t taste good. That it was too cold. However, it was all gone as soon as I turned around.”
Su Nuan Nuan laughed, “I really don’t have any left. Whatever is in the ice room is reserved for the lord. He already made us promise a thousand times to keep it for him. He expanded the most energy making this cream yesterday, he’ll be furious if it disappears. More importantly, I won’t be able to make use of him later.”
Qiu Ling’s eyebrows twitched. Wait, was this first madam way of putting the master in her heart? The old madam would be ecstatic when she hears this.
Thus, she happily abandoned the topic. After Concubine Jing bade her personal maid to carry her plate of Snow Cream to her house, they all set out for the North Court. Old Madam Fang did not really care two hoots about Concubine Jing and Duan Xinqi, but since their quiet and gentle beauty was soothing to the eyes, she allowed them to stick around as interesting background decorations. In fact, her mood was so good that she actually pulled Duan Zinqi over to sit next to her and proceeded to ask her after her family’s situation.
When Duan Xinqi mentioned how her brother had been doing quite well at his Government College, and one of his essays were even chosen as an excellent example just yesterday. Old madam nodded agreeably, “That’s very good, a child who’s an able scholar will make some something of himself. By the way, why is he studying at the Government College? As a child of our house, shouldn’t he be attending the Imperial College? Even brats without a scholarly bone from noble families could attend the Imperial College, surely he could get in with both lineage and brains on his side?”
All this was said with meaningful looks at Su Nuan Nuan, who clearly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Curses, just what does his studying have to do with me? But, luckily she had just talked over this matter with Duan Tingxuan a few days ago, otherwise she’d really be stuck.
“Old madam, you might not be aware of this, but that Imperial College is actually infested with bad apples. Especially the teachers, quite a few of them are blockheads who are only interested in climbing the society pole through their students. Just a few days ago third brother came to my place and chatted with the lord for a good long while. When he left, the lord shared the matter with me too. According to the lord, with third brother’s virtuous and noble temper, he’d be bullied and ignored by those at the Imperial College.
Worse, he might even learn bad habits from the schemers there. The plan now is for him to work hard at home. Though the Government College has less prestigious teachers, the lord said that third brother could bring his essays over for a look whenever he’s free. As long as third brother works hard and put his good brain to use, he could take the imperial exams next year and make something of himself.”
“Oh?” Old Madam Fang sounded pleased. She nodded to herself, “I am old now, and can’t pay so much attention to many things. I can’t even manage the people at home, to think that you two still thought to care about your third brother. Not bad, not bad, Xian’er is often busy with imperial work, I have a feeling that it was you who reminded him, is that right?”
“Nothing of the sort, third brother is a hard worker and our lord noticed his sincere effort.” Su Nuan Nuan’s words nearly caused Shi Yurou to crack a tooth, she was clenching her teeth so hard… Just what are you talking about? The lord recognised the third brother for his sincere effort; are you implying that second brother hasn’t been recognised because his efforts was not sincere enough? This Su Meng Nuan is just too poisonous. That single line was like a fine needle stabbing a vital point, a cruel and powerful killing move.
The more Shi Yurou thought of it, the angrier she became. When she recalled her husband’s words, it really felt like she had accidentally swallowed a fly. She tried several times to say something cutting, but her mouth just wouldn’t open, not even when a servant girl came over to whisper into her ear. The old madam saw this and said, “Tingye’s wife, you better go. Since you’re supposed to be in charge of house keeping, there’s no need for you to come and chat with me all the time.”
There was nothing Shi Yurou could do but take her leave. Back at her courtyard, she proceeded to handle the report first, before asking one of her maid where Duan Tingye was. When they told her he was in his study, she made her way there and was just in time to see Duan Tingye teasing his bed companion. When they saw her, the maid shrank away, an awkward expression descended on Duan Tingye’s face. The bed companion wordlessly shuffled out of the room to escape the tensed atmosphere.
Shi Yurou was angry, but was still holding onto her temper. She coldly said, “Unfortunately, the matter entrusted to this one had failed.”
“Why? Is the first madam unwilling?” this scheme was clearly very important to Duan Tingye, there was dismay on his expression.
“Whether she’s willing or not I have no idea. Just the sight of her high and mighty airs pisses me off. We haven’t even exchanged words when she started making fun of us. If I were to speak up about this matter, wouldn’t our status drop another foot in her eyes? To just stand and listen to her make fun of me, I… I just can’t.”
“You… you, must you be such a madam?” Duan Tingye was nearly vibrating with agitation. “Is pride more important or money? The reason why you can throw your weight around now is not due to your pride or social status. It’s because I am currently in charge of the family business. The old man gave me face because of my money making skills and granted you this authority. To throw away such a huge business opportunity just because you can’t swallow a small insult is just… isn’t this cutting your nose to spite your own face?”
“It’s… it’s not like I could say anything! If my lord really wishes to do business, you are welcome to speak to the first madam yourself.” Shi Yurou harrumph coldly, and turned to stare out a window.
“I? I am but a younger brother-in-law. What right do I have to speak with my brother’s wife in her own territory? Are you worried that I have lived too long, is that it?”
“Why are you so worried? Didn’t your third brother visit that accursed place and came out in one piece? Not even the younger servants said anything about it.” Shi Yurou kept her eyes fixed outside, the fan in her hand waving gently.
“How could I compare myself with third brother? He was dragged over by second sister, everyone knows that they’re there to thank that sister-in-law of mine for something. Also, elder brother was there when they went over, what reason do I have to drop by? This is just asking elder madam to scream me to death.”
“Then you’re welcome to speak with elder brother.”
“Are you crazy? You want me to speak with that crafty fox of a brother? Am I suppose to make money for him or for myself? Do you really think he’d let this opportunity go? I’d be doing the donkey’s work while he reaps the rewards. Are you happy to just drink the broth while he devours all the meat?”
[Gumihou: … you know, I still don’t like this Duan Tingxuan… If Duan Tingye ever betrayed the family, it’ll be because you bullied him too much, ah, ah, ah!]
Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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