Chapter 98: Understood Too Well
Translated by Gumihou
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“Can’t do this, can’t do that, so what do you want me to do? Anyway, I refuse to speak to that woman anymore, I hate her.” Shi Yurou gnashed her teeth and stomped over to sit on a nearby bench.
“Well, why don’t you just hang around the Spring Breeze Court for a while? See if you can worm your way into the confidences of the people there and the recipe for cream?” Duan Tingye really was a business animal, though he tended to cringe before Duan Tingxuan, he was full of ‘creative’ ideas to make money.
“Do I look stupid to you? Isn’t setting a foot anywhere near Spring Breeze Court means admitting defeat?” Shi Yurou was getting pissed off. She was just thinking about scratching her husband’s eyes out when Duan Tingye laughed gently, “You’re right. However, I am under the impression that elder sister-in-law trusts her personal maids implicitly. Why don’t you send a few of your maids over to befriend them, see what you can get. What do you think?”
“That’s not a bad idea. I don’t have to show my face, and since that Xing’er brat used work here, I know she’s friendly with at least two girls here. I’ll use the ‘Injure Oneself to Gain Advantage’ tactic and get them to seek her help on a later date. What do you think? Also, her two newest maids, Hua’er and Cong’er aren’t known for their smarts, so this should work.”
“Aiya, my wife is so clever!” Duan Tingye flattered his wife happily, planting a kiss on Shi Yurou’s cheek.
Shi Yurou, too, felt incredibly cunning and quick-witted for coming with such a good plan in so short a time. She gave villainous laugh and pushed her husband away with a sneer, “Don’t touch me so familiarly after petting one of your toys.” with that, she grandly sauntered off, leaving second young master to stew in a pot of complicated feelings.
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It was evening when Duan Tingxuan finally came home. When happened to encounter Duan Tingye making his way out. The evil in his heart snicggered, he was about to head over and pick on this brother of his when Duan Tingye himself hurried over with a warm smile, “Oh, you’re home, elder brother? I take it that you’ve had a hard day?”
“Oh… not bad.” seeing his despicable, cunning, stomach full of schemes second brother taking the initiative to greet him took the wind out of Duan Tingxuan’s sails. For a moment, he could only rub his head distractedly.
“Unfortunately, I can’t speak with elder brother long, I am just leaving for a dinner party.” Duan Tingye cupped his hands in greeting, skittered around his brother and hurried out. Duan Tingxuan stared at the direction where his brother had disappeared for a long time. Then, he turned to the gatekeeper. “Has something happened at the mansion?”
The gatekeeper tilted his head curiously, why did the lord heir suddenly ask him this question?
“How curious.” Duan Tingxuan stroked his chin. As he made his way towards Spring Breeze Court, he said to Si Ping, “Don’t you think that Tingye is a little odd today?”
“Not really,” Si Ping smiled broadly. “Speaking of which, Second Master Duan is no longer a child, after suffering my master’s teasing for so long, surely something would stick in his head? Since he cannot avoid my master, he might have decided to face his fears and challenge my master directly. Well, I say challenge, but he was perfectly respectful and warm even. Perhaps he had gained enlightenment?”
“Humph! What you said made sense, however, I don’t believe his actions are so simple.” Duan Tingxuan fanned himself gently for a moment. “People who did something for no obvious gains must be scheming something.”
“It’s not like Second Master Duan was doing this for no reason, ah.” Si Ping felt that his master just like to over think things, be careful you don’t scheme yourself into a corner, ah.
“Even if he has reasons for whatever he’s doing, I still think it’s strange for him to greet me without prompting. Humph! I know that Tingye too well, there’s no way he’s doing this for no good reason. I won’t believe it. Heheh! Not bad, it looks like he’s managed to nurture a few brain cells in his head. To be able to pull wool over my eyes like this, hah! Let’s see what kind of scheme you’ve come up with.”
“Master, this one knows that master is clever. However, it’s not good to bully people like this, ah. Since it’s nothing major, perhaps master should allow second master some leeway? Seeing second master in such despair, even this lowly one feels sorry for him, ah.”
Duan Tingxuan grinned and whacked Si Ping lightly on the head, “You little rascal, your flattery skill has improved. You can say such things without batting an eye now.” he continued on his way and just happened to come across Xu Ran Yun and her maid. The two women were obviously pretending to admire flowers in front of him.
When she ‘caught sight’ of him, Xu Ran Yun ran up cheerfully, “Oh, the lord is back? How lucky for this lowly one.”
“Hm, are you laying in wait for me, Ran Yun?”
Duan Tingxuan expected her to feigned ignorance, but Xu Ran Yun brightly replied, “Oh, this one guessed that my lord must be in a hurry to visit Spring Breeze Court. So, this one thought to enjoy the flowers here to see if this one could catch my lord on his way. It has been quite a long time since this one last saw my lord.”
The resentful feeling was obvious behind the lightly spoken words. Duan Tingxuan’s female in distress senses were tingling, and he could not help but softened. Thanks to her unreasonable actions from before, he had been quite cold to her for quite a few days now. Now that Nuan Nuan and Jing’er had gotten closer, the time for Jing’er to take over the household duties drew ever closer. When that time comes, wouldn’t Ran Yun be even more depressed? Perhaps he should go over to comfort her a little.
He smiled down at her, “I’ve been quite busy these past few days, and have neglected you a lot. Not only you, but I’ve neglected everyone here. You look lovely in this light red dress, wait for me tonight, alright?”
Xu Ran Yun beamed, she quickly bobbed in thanks for her great fortune and said, “As my lord said, this one shall be sure to get ready. If my lord does not come, this one shall be very sad.”
“Be at ease, I will keep my word.” Duan Tingxuan said absently, his mind already on the Snow Cream. Once Xu Ran Yun left, he hurried over to Spring Breeze Court. Feng Xian and Xu Ran Yun, who had hidden themselves away, watched their lord’s disappearing back with mixed feelings. Finally, Feng Xian said, “Madam, are you at ease now? Though the lord might covet first madam’s cooking, she could not force him to neglect yourself.”
Xu Ran Yun sneered, “So what if she tries to force him? Your master has a soft heart, as long as I am willing to lower my head, he would not let me lose face. This is called ‘Retreat a Step to Conquer the World’. Humph! Humph! Now that the lord stuck himself Spring Breeze Court all day, even the servants look down on us with their dog eyes, even daring to ignore my commands. Today, we shall let them all see, the lord still holds me in favour. It’s still to early to decide who will win just yet.”
As she spoke, Xu Ran Yun leisurely strolled home in satisfaction.
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At this very moment, Duan Tingxuan was anxiously making his way towards Spring Breeze Court. He hadn’t even crossed the threshold when it opened, and Xing’er came out with a strange maid. The maid had clearly been crying; she was still scrubbing her eyes tragically with a handkerchief when they both saw him. Both maids stiffened, and quickly bowed their greetings. Duan Tingxuan waved for them to stand up. He looked closer at the crying girl and asked, “Who is this? Is this a new maid?”
Xing’er quickly answered, “In reply to master’s question, this is Chun’er, she’s from the branch lady’s court. The branch lady had her beaten over some minor infractions, so she came here to talk to me for a bit.” In fact, there was no need for her to explain all this, but Chun’er’s tear stained face was a little ostentatious, which was why she thought she ought to at least give some explanation.
“Oh! So it’s Chun’er, ah.”
Duan Tingxuan looked meaningfully at the low ranking maid, before nodding. He then rushed through the door to howl, “Hong Lian! Where’s the Snow Cream? Did you reserve any for this lord?”
“From my lord’s tone of voice, if Hong Lian really had forgotten to reserve any for you, are you going to tear open my court?” Su Nuan Nuan was seated in a wide garden bench like a queen. In fact, with Zhao Chai in her arms, she looked more like an evil woodland queen smiling condescendingly at a miserable mortal. The little marquis felt his heart sank.
“Could it be… you really didn’t leave me any?” against Su Nuan Nuan, Duan Tingxuan realised that he could not fight fire with fire. He widened his eyes and proceeded to stare pitifully in her direction.
As expected, this was the best weapon against his wife. Said wife had prepared to spit more venom at this scum male, but seeing this grand and dignified heir who even dared to quarrel with the crown prince staring up at her with with those pitiful puppy eyes was just… Su Nuan Nuan felt her heart softened.
“Did I not say that good coolies are hard to come by? How could I not leave any for you? Hong Lian already left to get the Snow Cream the moment she saw you. Look, here she is with your treat.”
Su Nuan Nuan jerked her chin at Hong Lian’s direction, her hands never stopped stroking Zhao Chai. However, at the sight of Hong Lian, Zhao Chai let out a low ‘Miao’ and leapt out of her arms. He landed softly and bounded energetically towards Hong Lian.
“Dratted cat, you dare fight me over this? I’ll slap you to death.” he was on the verge of losing his temper. It was one thing to yield over fish, he could have fish every other day if he wanted to. But this was a never eaten before Snow Cream, ah. That cream alone was already too delicious, that Snow Cream thing had to be out of this world, right?
Afraid that his Snow Cream would be snatched away, the little marquis pushed the limits of his qing gong and, like a ‘Starving Tiger Pouncing on Its Prey’, he landed next to Hong Lian and snatched the plate off her hands. Holding the plate protectively against his chest, he glared triumphantly at Zhao Chai. Actual killing intent leaked out as he glared at the cat: This master dares you to come over and snatch my Snow Cream I’ll skin you and wear you as a hat.
Su Nuan Nuan stared at this incredible show in front of her with some incredulity and muttered, “Well, I guess this guy is a true foodie, ah. To use powerful kungfu to get his hands on food is just too amazing. Looks like even I lost to Duan Tingxuan when it comes to combative ability.”
Duan Tingxuan proceeded to eat his Snow Cream as he made his way into the house. He did not even sit down when he stepped past the threshold, preferring to prowl around restlessly as he ate. Su Nuan Nuan was at a loss as this tall and dignified master of the house nibbled slowly at his Snow Cream. “Why aren’t you sitting down? Also, don’t you normally just swallow your food like a starving wolf? Why are you eating so daintily now? Have you found your dignity on your way here?”
“This is my way of showing my love and gratitude towards the Snow Cream. I feel more comfortable eating this while standing and walking around. Nuan Nuan, I do believe that this wonderful creation will be my salvation in the future.”[Pu~] tea exploded from Su Nuan Nuan’s mouth. She glared at Duan Tingxuan, “Are you for real? You just want to see me spit my tea, don’t you?”
“No, no, no, nothing like that.” afraid that his wife would think that he was concealing malicious intentions, the little marquis quickly flapped his hand placatingly. “I’m being serious, Nuan Nuan. Every word came from the bottom of my heart. From the first mouthful of this treat I know, I have fallen deep, I’m finished. Aside from the summer months, I want to taste this delectable ambrosia in fall and winter too. If I’m troubled by anything that makes me boil with anger, this salvation would cool the fire in my belly. Nuan Nuan, don’t you know what kind of impact this thing has for a sweet tooth foodie…”
“Fine, fine, whatever, for a dignified lord heir like you to fall all over your feet over Snow Cream is just too ugly. It’s just some frozen snack.” Su Nuan Nuan shook her head despairingly. “In short, you really like it, right? So why are you eating so daintily? Are you giving Zhao Chai a chance to snatch your food?”
[Gumihou: Whatever, scum male. This is why polygamy is not a good idea. Suffer, you wretched man! Nuan Nuan, feed the Snow Cream to Zhao Chai!]
Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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