Chapter 147 : Counting Chickens Before They Hatched
Translated by Gumihou
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Xue Zhi Lan had laid down a lot of background work before coming over here for the sake of delivering this last blow. Sure enough, the look on Xu Ran Yun’s face as she wavered between different expressions was totally worth it. Her objective has been achieved. Everything that Xu Ran Yun had done and said until now had stemmed from a deep suspicion. Only no one had given voice to her worries until now. She was on the verge of believing her own lies, not having the resolve to actually go against Su Nuan Nuan. However, now that her secrets have been broken open, and the little refuge she had built in her own mind shattered, Xu Ran Yun finally saw that she had been used. She had been led by the nose up to this point.
“Why do you say all this to me? So what if the situation is clear now? What can I do?” after a long time, Xu Ran Yun finally calmed down enough to say. However, when she lifted the teacup to her lips for a sip, her fingers visibly trembled.
Xue Zhi Lan gave a sad look and said gently, “Oh, sister, why do I say this to you? Heheh! I shall be honest. Today, I’m actually here to mock your miserable state. But then, you just have to mention Concubine Jing and suddenly, it occurred to me that we’re in the same miserable boat. I was so upset that I just had to vent. How would I know if what I said could be useful or not?
In fact, this is not even what I’m most worried about. My heart goes out for the children. Sister, surely you haven’t forgotten what she had done in the past? The true reason why the lord cast her out to Mei Yue Lou? If the lord hadn’t done anything back then, who knows what would have happened to his children? However, things are different now, the lord is bewitched by her. If something were to happen to my sons or your son, I’m afraid he no longer cares…”
Without waiting for her to finish, Xu Ran Yun angrily cut in, “Nonsense! That’s utter complete nonsense and you know it. These children are the lord’s favourites, his flesh and blood. How dare you accuse the lord like this?”
Xue Zhi Lan’s voice was frosty as she said, “The lord is my husband too. So, of course I would hope that he loves his children. However, now that things had developed this way, I cannot help but worry. Sister, from your tone of voice, I’m afraid you still do not know? The children had been rushing towards Spring Breeze Court every day after their studies. That woman had always seen them as thorns on her side, but now? They called her gentle and affectionate.
Even my own Moafan and Maosen could not stop talking about first mother this, first mother that. It is as though they had completely forgotten about this blood mother of theirs. If she truly cares for them, I have nothing to say. Only, I’m afraid… I’m afraid that this is all a front to conceal her true, evil intentions. These days when Maofan and Maosen went over to Spring Breeze Court, the days had been so cold lately, and yet, and yet she feeds them Snow Cream.
You tell me, what could possibly be the reason for this? Children are greedy creatures, and she is their di mother, how could she not now that cold food in winter only brings ill? Moreover it’s a frozen thing like Snow Cream. Thankfully, nothing happened to Maofan, but Maosen spent half the night on the toilet. I was so frightened… so afraid that my spirit nearly left my body.”
“This really happened?” Xu Ran Yun was shocked too. She stood up and begin to pace. “Does the lord really not know about this? He doesn’t care?”
Xue Zhi Lan sighed, “Sister is still pinning her hopes on our lord? Hehe! I’ve said it before, the lord has already been bewitched by the first madam. He not only did not care. From what Maosen told me, he ate the Snow Cream with them. However, I’m sure that the senior madams have no idea what was happening. I don’t believe that every single person in this house has been controlled by her, surely?”
Xu Ran Yun’s temper soon receded a little. Finally, a thread of inconsistency in Xue Zhi Lan’s story intruded her mind. After a long moment, she asked, “Sister haven’t said anything about this to elder madam? What if that woman fed Snow Cream to the children again?”
Xue Zhi Lan scrubbed her eyes with her handkerchief and wailed pitifully, “What if she did? What can I do? The words of the lowly counts for nothing, the only thing I can do now is be more careful. Sister, you must listen to me. Little Ming has a temper on him, but he’s the eldest beloved son of this house. So, sister must take care too, what if he’s being misled or lured over by… by someone? As for Little Chuan, Concubine Jiang took great effort in educating him, so surely there’s no need for sister to worry over him.” Duan Maoming – Xu Ran Yun’s son  Duan Maochuan – Concubine Jiang-Ginger (not to be mistaken with Concubine Jing-Peace)
Xu Ran Yun finally understood the whole of Xue Zhi Lan’s scheme and was so angry she nearly exploded. However, she soon calmed down. No matter what, the other party wasn’t as stupid as to urge her to risk her own son. At least, this woman still had this much respect for her. Common tactics will not work against that ferocious woman from Spring Breeze Court. As the saying goes, ‘He who could not part with his child would not catch the wolf’. Naturally, she would never risk her own son, but someone else’s child? Moreover, Concubine Jiang was her dowry maid, if it were not for her personal recommendation and financial assistant, how could a maid rose to the level of a concubine and live comfortably as part of a marquis family? If she, Xu Ran Yun, is taken down by the enemy, her former dowry maid Concubine Jiang would also suffer. Therefore, why shouldn’t she offer up her child for the greater good?
Xue Zhi Lan watched as Xu Ran Yun’s face went through several changes, and knew that she had achieved her goal. As for the rest, well, that depends on how this woman decides to arrange her chess pieces. Speaking more at this point would be ‘Adding legs onto a snake painting’. Hence, she stood up, made her excuses, and left Autumn Rain Pavilion. On the way out, she could not resist one last glance at Xu Ran Yun’s direction. A smile crossed her face, “Madam Yun’s feelings right now must be similar to what I felt the last time she came over to my place to personally hand over that knife. Only, it’s too bad that knife did not manage to injure anyone, contrarily, it brought even more power to first madam. Thankfully that fire did not manage to burn me. I wonder, what would happen this time?”
Next to her, Long Yan said, “Madam is really certain that Madam Yun would do as you’ve predicted?”
“Similar to my predicament last time. Though I knew that I was being used, I had no choice but to agree. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, she knew that she has no choice. What are her options now? To sit and watch as first madam took over the housekeeping duties? If she is the type who would overlook this kind of matter, she would not be in this situation now.”
Long Yan nodded, “Madam is right. Madam Yun cares about power most. Also, this maid really admires madam. To think that you could force Madam Yun into a corner with only this much. If not for the fear that first madam would seize power from her, she might have been contented to sit on the side and wait for something to nibble on her bait.”
Xue Zhi Lan smiled, “No need to make fun of her. How many years have you followed me? Were you not unclear about my true objective until now? To think that I would waste my time battling with Xu Ran Yun, what a joke. With first madam watching us like prey, why would I start a struggle with Xu Ran Yun? Isn’t that just too foolish? Now that matters have come to this point, the smartest thing to do is sit back and wait with our nets.”
Long Yan blushed at being so transparent before her master, and quickly switched topics, “Only, would Madam Yun really be willing to do something to Little Chuan? No matter what, he’s still Concubine Jiang’s son. Isn’t she worried about alienating Concubine Jiang?”
“What is there to not be willing about? That’s not her child. Do you really think she has any real regard for Concubine Jiang? Heheh! If someone were to suddenly appear and say that killing Concubine Jiang would result in the death of the first madam, she would be the first to pick up a knife. Don’t believe me? That woman is both cold and ruthless, as long as she can win, she will throw away all familial relationship. Why would she bother herself with a mere dowry maid?
Moreover, Concubine Jiang herself has no other connections aside from her mistress. So what if she hates the woman who endangered her son? Unless she wants to endanger her own life, she would have to swallow down this grief.”
At this point Xue Zhi Lan paused. She could not resist another look at Autumn Rain Pavilion. “Enough, our part in this drama is over. We may now take a seat and watch as the mistresses of Autumn Rain Pavilion and Spring Breeze Court battle to the death. Heheh! What an excellent show it would be. I do hope they would live up to my expectations.”
Author White Pear Flower: Hei-hei, everyone should understand the plot by now, right?
[Gumihou: Oh my gosh, I can’t decide who’s scarier at the moment!]
 He who could not part with his child would not catch the wolf – Apparently, the original version is ‘He who could not part with his shoes would not catch the wolf’ – it has the same basic meaning, though different connotation. One must pay a high price (a child or money to replace shoes used by hunters who had to run across rough terrains to catch the wolf) for great gains  …wait with our nets – A reference to the story of the heron and the crab, where both the heron and the crab refused to concede against each other in a fight where neither could win nor lose. Along came a fisherman, who caught both heron and crab in his net, and had them for dinner.
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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