Chapter 119: Escape Route Blocked
Translated by Gumihou
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“Sister is right.”
Concubine Jing knew from Su Nuan Nuan’s tone and choice of words that the woman was perfectly calm, and her own feelings settled down as well. It was almost noon when the two concluded their talk. The abbot personally lead people in to serve the senior madams their meals. After thanking their host, Old Madam Fang bade the in-laws to eat. The maids and female servants all ate outside the reception hall or in the courtyard. They too were were served two tables worth of vegetarian food.
As they picked up their chopsticks, Old Madam Fang said jokingly, “When it comes to vegetarian food, I’m afraid these are far too inferior compared to Nuan Nuan’s. I should have gotten Nuan Nuan to make prepare of my favourites for me, I really don’t know how I’d eat some of these.”
Su Nuan Nuan smiled back, “Old madam, no matter what let’s all endure together. Otherwise, people would say that our An Ping house looks down on other people. If we even had to get our vegetarian food tailor made, how bad it would sound outside, ah? We should pay attention to how our behaviour influence outsiders.”
“That’s right, I was being childish.” Old Madam Fang laughed out loud as she picked up another piece of wild fungus and ate it. She glanced towards the door and said, “Isn’t Tingxuan back yet? Isn’t he taking a long time?”
At this point, Xue Zhi Lan said, “Old madam, please do not fret. The lord must be handling some very important matters right now, how could he be back so soon? Even the lord was not sure if he could be back by today. Didn’t he say to stay over night at the temple?” then, she turned to Xu Ran Yun and said, “That’s right, if there’s a possibility that we might be staying here, wouldn’t it be a good idea to make preparations now?”
Xu Ran Yun said, “No need to fret, little sister. When we left this morning, I’d already made the arrangements for staying a night or two, just in case old madam is tired out from the journey or wish to enjoy the scenery a little longer.”
Liu Min’s eyes flashed over, and her lips curved, “Xu Ran Yun had always been so thoughtful. No wonder the housekeeping within the mansion had been so smooth and orderly these few months. I must say, even Rou’er cannot be compared to you.”
Flattered, Xu Ran Yun’s heart shivered with pleasure and she quickly smiled back. “Madam Min exaggerates. I am, but, doing my best within my own capacity, how could I be compared to the branch lady…” she hadn’t finished speaking when she caught sight of Madam Yang’s chilly gaze. It was then that she realized that she had fallen into Liu Min’s trap. She knew that she was not in the old lady’s good books, and her status had just decreased significantl before the old lady’s eyes. Moreover, her husband had always stand on the side of the old mada, and had never got on well with the second branch family or Liu Min. With just this one line, she had just…
Cold sweat popped up on Xu Ran Yun’s forehead, she dared not think, dared not speak anymore. Liu Min and Xue Zhi Lan privately cheered at her blunder. All these little shift and moves were observed by old madam, but she never said anything. As for Nuan Nuan… this foodie was in the middle of carefully tasting the Stir Fried Tofu with Wood Ear Fungus. She was too busy analysing all the merits and demerits of this dish, immediately coming up with five different ways to improve the current dish. She planned to contribute a few vegetarian recipes to this temple, hopefully Buddha and Bodhisattva would accept this as her offering and grant her wish for a peaceful and prosperous life.
Though nobody was completely satisfied by the vegetarian lunch, Old Madam Fang’s mood was already much better compared to this morning. After a short rest, she decided to go for a stroll to admire the chrysanthemums. Madam Yang, Liu Min and the rest all followed, an incredibly lively group was soon found strolling, laughing and chatting among the blooming flowers.
Pushan Temple chrysanthemum’s fame was not in vain. Su Nuan Nuan was soon spotting varieties similar to the ones in her past life, while Concubine Jing pointed out famous breeds as though introducing precious family members. In the midst of this cheer Su Nuan Nuan felt someone tugging at her sleeves, it was Concubine Jing. When turned her head away, and Su Nuan Nuan followed her gaze, and spotted the young man Concubine Jing had sent out earlier, he was standing quite far away at the end of a corridor looking anxiously at their direction.
Su Nuan Nuan nodded and the servant backed away out of sight. She then went over to where Old Madam and Madam Yang was admiring a cluster of chrysanthemums and smiled, “Old madam, elder madam, please continue your stroll. I had a small glass of the vegetarian wine today and felt a little dizzy. I think I might go ahead and take a rest first.”
“What’s this? Still so young and can’t keep up with this bag of old bones? Surely you’re not thinking of goofing off, are you?” Old Madam Fang laughed. Su Nuan Nuan laughed along and said, “Old madam may say whatever you like, but dear madam, do let me off this time. I promise to make something good for you when we get back.”
“Did anyone hear this? This granddaughter-in-law of mine sure knows how to soften me up.” Old Madam Fang said happily to the people around her. Naturally, everyone laughed at this little joke. However, jokes aside, old madam still allow her to ‘escape’ her duties.
When she got back to the guest room assigned to her, the boy servant was there waiting for her. After getting Hong Lian and Xiang Yun to act as looked out, she said in a low voice, “Well? Did you get any information about the Capital? Is there anything strange going on?”
“To answer madam,” the boy servant looked very excited, “this one and a few others went down the mountain safely, but did not travel far down the road when they saw two large tree trunks as well as large stones blocking it. When they questioned nearby farmers, someone said that a cart from Sichuan province had over turned, spilling the large ceder tree trunks and white marble stone all over the place. Apparently, it is still possible to go around on foot, but carriages can’t get passed. It looks like, carriages from other noble families did not reach Pushan Temple because they were stopped by this roadblock and went back home.”
Su Nuan Nuan’s face turned white, and her body swayed for a moment. But then, she steadied herself and whispered back, “Are there other roads to the Capital from here?
The servant boy shook his head, his voice trembled, “N… none, this is the only road from the Capital to Pushan Temple. We have to travel down the same road quite awhile before it splits into four other paths to the Capital.”
“Missy… this is… this seems very deliberate…”
Hong Lian too began to tremble, only to be scolded by Su Nuan Nuan. “Quiet, this is not the time to lose your head.” She spoke again to the servant boy, “Did anyone spot you leaving?”
“No. We did as Concubine Jing ordered. We encountered two woodcutters and told them we’ve been ordered by Missy to buy some mountain goods from a nearby village.” since Su Nuan Nuan was well known as an eccentric foodie, this excuse was not out of the norm.
Don’t panic, Su Nuan Nuan, you must not panic. Even without incredible kungfu like that man slut, you must not panic and bring shame upon your ancestors.
After taking a deep breath, Su Nuan Nuan forced herself to calm down and paced about her room a few times. Then, she suddenly stopped and said to the servant boy, “When you were at the roadblock just now, did you see any suspicious people?”
“Not really.” this servant boy was quite quick witted, his answers were sure and to the point. “This one specifically looked around a bit, and saw that both sides of the road was all rice paddy. Most of the crops had been harvested by now and there were only a few farmers milling around clearing up the dried grass and straws. If there had been strangers around them, I’m sure they would have been silent and unsettled. But the farmers were all singing and laughing as they worked together. Looks like they all knew each other very well.
Aside from the two fallen tree trunks on the road, there was no other places to hide. Madam, please forgive this one for speaking out of turn, but, the ceder trees are extremely large and heavy. As for the white marble stone, the biggest piece is about man height. If anyone wants to block the road, this is more than enough, there’s no need to leave any lookouts.”
White Peach Flower-sama: Fu~ Danger is knocking at their door, what would Su Nuan Nuan do next?
[Gumihou is very excited too!]
 I fixed this sentence, it was originally a) Su Nuan Nuan felt a tug, b) Su Nuan Nuan spotted the maid far away. The heck, can that maid tug at your sleeves with her eyes?!
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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