Chapter 100: Elder Brother’s Pains
Translated by Gumihou
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Duan Tingxuan sighed, then he regarded Su Nuan Nuan contemplatively, “Nuan Nuan, do you believe that I bullied Tingye because I look down on him and his birth mother?”
“Isn’t that so?” Su Nuan Nuan countered. Surely this scum male slut was not going to say that he bullied Duan Tingye for his own good or something equally righteous and ridiculous? If he really say something like that the heavens would really open up and strike him down.
“Of course…that’s part of it.” the little marquis had probably concluded that his wife had saw through him and paused between his explanation. But, then he quickly followed up with, “But, the most important reason, the reason why I did this was to help Tingye… to prevent brotherly discord…”
He hadn’t finished speaking when Su Nuan Nuan clutched her chest and cried out dramatically, “You really said it, Duan Tingxuan! You’re really inviting heaven’s wrath. Whatever, just stand away from me. This kind of despicable and hypocritical words actually came out of your mouth, do you really don’t want to grow beard in your later life? Second brother will cry if he ever heard this.”
Duan Tingxuan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “You really think I’m a hypocrite? Just think for a moment, if I were to allow his wild behaviour to grow unchecked, or to assist him to gain power. What do you think would happen? Tingye’s nature is just like his mother, their greed knows no bounds. If I don’t block his way or suppress him, our family would have split off a long time ago.
It’s because I am here to suppress him, and stop him from getting the capital or opportunity to grow his money that he dared not move too rashly for fear of me smashing him down. Right now, though he could not achieve great wealth, he could still eat well, dress well and live the life of a rich young master. You tell me, am I not a thoughtful and benevolent older brother?”
“I really never saw it this way… so you’re actually a good brother?” Su Nuan Nuan was shocked. She could feel that Duan Tingye was not joking around, he really thought he was doing his brother and family a huge favour. Had she been looking down on him too much? Was this scum male a much more benevolent person that she had thought?
“Ahem… you’re thinking that, since I’m such a good brother I might as well let him become the heir. After all, a great and talented man like me would have no trouble making it big wherever I go.” the little marquis’ face suddenly flushed with anger as he continued. “However, I refuse! This is my right, so I’m keeping it. After his mother snatched away father’s love, I’m not going to let him snatch my rightful place as heir. Nor can I just destroy this brother of mine by personally sending him to hell. Therefore, the only thing I can do is suppress him. Suppress him so much that he would forever be the little brother. If he suffer for it, heheh! Well, he could only blame his own wild ambition for any unfulfilled feelings!”
“Second brother truly is pitiful, however, I approve of your tactic.” Su Nuan Nuan did pitied Duan Tingye, however, she still extended her thumb towards Duan Tingxuan.
“I can only say all this to you, only you would approve of my methods.” Duan Tingxuan sighed. If anyone else were to hear of his plan, they might reprimand him or persuade him to do something else with their mouths while keeping their own thoughts to themselves. Only Su Nuan Nuan would speak her mind frankly to him. Fortune really knows how to play with people, when all was said and done, Duan Tingxuan’s true confidant in this world was his first wife. Though she was as beautiful as a flower, she was also as distant as the clouds. He was not at all sure if would every be able to hold this flower in his arms in this lifetime.
As soon as the thought occurred to him, the little marquis sank into deep contemplation. For a long while, silence reigned within the house. Presently, Hong Lian came in, along with Xiang Yun, Cong’er, Hua’er and Xing’er. Duan Tingxuan leaned back against his chair, crossed his leg, and drawled, “The ones who made the Cream and Snow Cream with your madam are all here? No one else?”
Hong Lian hurriedly answered, “In reply to master, it’s just us. No one else.”
Duan Tingxuan nodded, “I see. Well then, listen to this master well, I shall not repeat myself. If anyone were to violate my orders, they will be beaten to death.”
Duan Tingxuan had always acted like a doting husband at Spring Breeze Court, and had always mimicked Su Nuan Nuan’s careless, indulgent way of treating the servants. This sudden change was like seeing a tiger lazily stretching its back, indolent, but frightening at the same time. The maids all trembled in fear, goosebumps rose on their skin and they could only nodded in unison crying, “This lowly one shall obey master’s orders.”
Su Nuan Nuan frowned. She didn’t like this attitude of Duan Tingxuan. It’s not like it was some big deal or something, to use ‘Beaten to Death’ so carelessly, just what was he thinking?
She was about to say something when her husband gently met her eyes, the look in his eyes were gentle, but firm. Stunned, she swallowed her words and thought: That’s right, Spring Breeze court will be targeted by many factions soon enough. Her maids, the first line of defence would receive the brunt of these attack through the combination of bribery and coercion. Whatever, if the recipe for Snow Cream really escaped this place, I’ll kick the maid out, that way Duan Tingxuan could still maintain his face without needing to actually kill anyone, right?
After all these consideration, she decided to maintain her silence. From the maid’s point of view, it looked like their Missy had been shaken up by Duan Tingxuan’s fierce attitude. Each of them vowed silently in their hearts to never let anyone wrench the recipe from their mouths, they did not want to put their beloved mistress in this horrible situation.
Xing’er was a stubborn and forthright character, similar to Su Nuan Nuan actually. She was also exceptionally intelligent, at Duan Tingxuan’s solemn threat, she cried out, “No wonder! I was just thinking to myself how odd it was that Chun’er came running over to my place to cry. Looks like the second young master has his eyes on the Snow Cream recipe and the second lady decided to use the trick of ‘Injuring Oneself to Gain Enemy’s Confidence’. So, she wants to steal the recipe through me, heheh! Those people looked down me too much, even without master’s advice, I will never disclose it at the point of death. I will never forget how the branch lady had treated me. If I were to ever hand such a precious thing over, I might as well commit suicide by slamming my head into a block of tofu.”
“Alright, alright, as long as you know it. Let’s not curse ourselves unnecessarily.” Su Nuan Nuan was crossed and amused at once. She looked over at Duan Tingxuan, “Since you’ve taken the trouble to call everyone over, does my lord have any other instructions? If not, let’s all have dinner. I’m hungry.”
“Yes, yes, yes, let’s eat.” At the mention of dinner, the serious and threatening little marquis suddenly became an eager little boy with sparkling eyes again. There was not a single trace of the heroic and dignified master left, he’d once again turned into a loud mouth idiot in the face of a good dinner.
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They were halfway through with dinner when one of the older female servants announced that someone had came to the mansion looking for Duan Tingxuan. Si Ping himself was waiting at the door. This really angered the little marquis, he hurriedly stuffed two pieces of Steamed Pork with Rice Flour into his mouth as he glared eerily at Hong Lian. Hong Lian started, and stammered, “M-master? W-why is master looking at this one? This unworthy one never said anything, ah.”
“You bring bad luck just by standing there. Nuan Nuan, next time don’t let Hong Lian serve us, I can never finish a meal peacefully with her here.”
After the vaguely threatening words, the little marquis stormed off, leaving Hong Lian gaping after him in surprised. After a long while, she stamped her foot and complained, “Missy, did you see that? Master is being totally unreasonable, just what had this maid done? He accused this maid for being a crow and now wants to take away my duty of serving you. If I really am a cursed crow, what’s all that begging and pleading to save him some Snow Cream from this morning? Humph, I shall not let him use me like this again.”
Su Nuan Nuan howled with laughter. She nodded approvingly, “Now you see? You’ve finally seen just what kind of bastard he is, right? Wu! At any rate, the sun has long set by now, I wonder what’s so urgent? Moreover, they got Si Ping to personally come find him, can’t be anything good.”
Duan Tingxuan never returned the rest of the night. Though Su Nuan Nuan was a little concerned, she was never really worried. After all, it’s not like she really wanted that ‘beloved’ husband of hers to visit her bedchamber. The one who was really suffering right now was the hopeful Xu Ran Yun, who had been promised a visit by Duan Tingxuan. After so many days, she’d finally managed to grasp an opportunity to see her husband. She had thought that her husband’s ire against her has lessened a lot, and was quite prepared to beg him prettily to soften his heart. Once he visited her, she would be able to show those servants that she still holds the lord’s favour and the rest of them would not dare to utter those wretched words anymore!
In truth, Xu Ran Yun was someone who was very good at creating opportunities for herself. Yesterday’s little performance was tailored to rouse the little marquis’ pity for her. This Duan Tingxuan was just too unromantic, though he loved beautiful women, he’d always placed his work above them. Because he left in a hurry, or perhaps he didn’t anticipate staying out all night, he’d completely forgotten to ask someone to inform Xu Ran Yun that he wasn’t coming.
Poor Xu Ran Yun ended up waiting for him half the night, tormenting herself with the thought that Su Nuan Nuan had once more stopped Duan Tingxuan from visiting her. She gritted her teeth and cursed the world for more than two hours before finally falling into uneasy sleep. She woken up later from a nightmare, and couldn’t sleep anymore. In a temper, she lashed out at the maids at the slightest infractions, causing the people at Autumn Rain Pavilion to walk on eggshells that day.
It was soon evening again, neither hair nor shadow of Duan Tingxuan was seen. Not only him, even Si Ping could not be seen. Xu Ran Yun sat at the window overlooking the lush flowers and trees in her garden, a bitter winter blowing through her heart: In the past, even if Duan Tingxuan could not come over to personally inform her of his business, he would send Si Ping over to notify her. Who would have thought that her husband would have neglected her to this extent? Was there really no room in his heart for her anymore?
She was immersed in her bitter musings when loud laughter reached her ears. No such sounds had been heard within her courtyard all day until now. Did someone assume that she was not around and was making fun of her?
Temper fraying, Xu Ran Yun stood up and stomped over to the garden, and saw that the person laughing was her own precious son, Duan Maoming. Her son grinned up at her and said, “Mother, I was just playing with third brother. That guy is too stupid, he fell out of a tree while trying to run away, so funny!”
Xu Ran Yun has had enough, seeing Duan Maoming with his clothes covered in dirt and leaves was the last straw. Those clothes were made of satin, what was he doing climbing trees while dressed in satin? To see the expensive cloth in such a condition, she became so angry that she snarled, “Playing around all day, is that all you do? What happened to your studies? What’s so good about climbing trees? What if you fall and injure yourself? Or worse, bitten by insects? Just scram now and change your clothes, do you even know what you look like now?”
Duan Maoming had always been a pampered child. From a young age he’d been spoilt by his parents and his attitude was basically similar to a devil incarnate. Therefore, how could he be cowed by her mother’s scolding? Instead, he set his teeth and snapped, “If you’re angry about father coming late, why don’t you go confront him?! Why scold me?”
[Gumihou: Hohoho, spoilt child syndrome. Tsk, tsk]
 粉蒸肉 – Steamed Pork with Rice Flour
Here’s a translated version of a recipe from meishichina.
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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