Chapter 151: Food Stealing
Translated by Gumihou
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Duan Tingxuan was too shocked to say anything, so it was up to Su Nuan Nuan to ask, “Did Si Ping say what the matter is?”
Cong’er answered, “Si Ping said he did not know. When he asked Eunuch Hong, Eunuch Hong did not know either. The only thing they did know is that the emperor was so angry that he smashed his teacup.”
Su Nuan Nuan looked over at Duan Tingxuan, who had stood up with a wary frown, “Could it be possible that news about Pingzhang’s death has already reached him? But, that can’t be, even I just received it through a secret line. The official messenger from Hangzhou can’t have reached the Capital yet, so, how could the emperor know?”
Su Nuan Nuan said, “It may not have anything to do with Lord Long. Forgive my words, but I don’t think Lord Long is someone the emperor favours enough to throw teacups about, right?”
Duan Tingxuan paused, then a bitter smile crossed his face, “You’re right. Whatever, I shall enter the palace now. I’ll know what’s going on when I’m there.”
Su Nuan Nuan busied herself fetching his fox fur cloak. As she handed the cloak over to him, she whispered, “You just play by ear and watch yourself.”
If this was any other time, how happy would the little marquis have been to be the recipient of her concern. However, he was still grieving and did not have the heart to think about this matter. Duan Tingxuan merely nodded, and said, “I will, if I’m late, there’s no need for you to wait for me. I shall have dinner on my own.” And with that, he rushed off.
Su Nuan Nuan stood at the doorway until Duan Tingxuan disappeared from sight before she sighed. She looked back at the half-eaten bowl of Snow Cream. Might as well get one of the maids to put it away, if any of those little brats saw it, they would definitely nag her for it. She was just about to say something when a servant rushed in excitedly and threw herself to her knees, “Madam please head over to Mei Yue Lou now. There was a fire at the hot house, it’s been put out, but water is everywhere. More than half of the vegetables and flowers are burnt…”
The servant hasn’t finished when Su Nuan Nuan shrieked. Those hot house vegetables and flowers were her babies, she watched them grow up daily and was just wondering when would be the best time to visit today. But, burnt?
Indeed, if more than half of the building was burnt up, it was as though someone had gouged a piece of flesh off this foodie. Without bothering to change her clothes, she rushed out into the snow. Thankfully, Hong Lian was quick enough to snatch a ferret skin coat and chased after her mistress with it.
In an instant, the only people left at Spring Breeze Court was Cong’er and Hua’er. Xing’er had gone to the Needlework House to ask after Su Nuan Nuan and Duan Tingxuan’s new year’s clothes. Xiang Yun and Hong Lian had once considered Mei Yue Lou their home, and had gone along with their mistress to look at the damage. There were two other servants at Spring Breeze Court, but they were night duty maids and were rarely around during the day.
The two low-level maids were talking about the Mei Yue Lou incident when children’s chatter reached their ears. The two of them rushed out, and saw only Duan Maochuan in his little cloak. When he saw them, he asked, “Where’s first mother?”
“Madam has gone over to Mei Yue Lou. Little Master Chuan please come in and warm up. It’s still snowing. Why are you here? Where are the other little masters?”
Though Duan Maochuan was the son of a concubine, and was looked down by both Xue Zhi Lan and Xu Ran Yun. He was given the same favour as all the other young masters by the lord and first madam, therefore the two maids dared not act scornful with him and respectfully invited him in. They even provided a cup of tea and a hand stove, their manners perfectly meticulous in every way.
“Since it is a snowy day, the teacher let us leave after giving a short lecture, telling us to practice our writing. My elder brothers have all gone home. I remember first mother mentioned that she is making me a pair of mittens so that I could write and still keep my hands warm. I’m here to see if she has finished it.”
As Duan Maochuan spoke, this little master happily climbed onto the kang bed. In the past, he used to be afraid of this first mother. His blood mother had once told him that it was possible that this first mother had something to do with him falling into a pond last year. But, after old madam’s birthday, the children were lured into visiting Spring Breeze Court for its snacks. Sometimes turned into often times, and each time they were warmly received by Su Nuan Nuan. Unlike Xu Ran Yun or Xue Zhi Lan, who were both proud and distant mothers, she enjoyed joking and playing with them. Even when she was lecturing them, her teachings were couched in exciting stories. Not to mention those new and innovative snacks! Any children who visited her were immediately bribed over. Duan Maochuan himself had fallen in a part of the ‘Eat, Not Fight’ army.
Therefore, though his character was a little weak, he has always been more open when hanging around Su Nuan Nuan’s place. Normally when he hung out with his brothers, he dared not act impudently. Since none of his brothers happened to be here, this little guy experienced a sudden giddy shot of pride as a little master and dared to climb onto the kang bed. Since it was now winter, this was where the boys normally hug out with Su Nuan Nuan anyway.
“Since it’s like this, little master please wait for a while. Our madam had spent the whole of yesterday evening on it, it should be done in two days’ time.” Cong’er smiled and left to fetch the mittens Su Nuan Nuan had been working on just for Duan Maochuan. This little boy’s hands tended to get cold during winter, but he still had to practice his letters. A few days ago he was scolded by Concubine Jiang for not practising his letters and had run crying to Su Nuan Nuan. After some coaxing, Su Nuan Nuan finally found the source of his tears and agreed to make the mittens for him.
Once Cong’er left, Duan Maochuan eyed the half bowl of Snow Cream on the table. His little tongue flicked around his lips. He clearly wanted the Snow Cream, but with Hua’er in the room, this little brat did not quite dare to indulge. Moreover, Su Nuan Nuan was really strict, during winter they’re only allowed one or two mouthfuls of the stuff. His eyes suddenly flashed, and he said to Hua’er, “I’m a little hungry, go look and see what kind of snacks there are in the kitchen and bring back an assorted plate.”
“Oh, how daring, just how old are you? Wanting a whole plate of snacks for yourself.” Hua’er teased, but she still made her way to the kitchens. Now that there was no one with him in the room, Duan Maochuan immediately grabbed the little bowl and began to shovel spoon after spoon of Snow Cream into his mouth. The cold numbed his mouth, but he refused to slow down his pace: When would he ever have the chance to eat his fill of Snow Cream again? How could he let go of this opportunity?
Clearly, this little food thief was Duan Tingxuan’s son, his talent in stealing food was no less impressive than his father’s.
When the final spoonful of Snow Cream was swallowed down, the little brat was so cold that he actually started to shiver. Just then, Cong’er came in with the half-finished mittens. The mittens were made of bright red satin with a longevity pattern sewn on it. Cong’er smiled, “I had quite a time looking for it. It turns out madam has placed them inside her bedside cabinet. Look, Little Master Chuan, six fingers are done, there’s still four more to go. You can have them when it’s done.”
Duan Maochuan happily rolled over to fetch the mittens and put it on the one finished mitten on his hand. Sure enough, the tips of his fingers peeked out at the top. He wriggled them and was so happy that he laughed out loud. He returned the mittens to Cong’er and looked out the courtyard for a moment, “When will first mother return, ah?”[Gumihou: Aww, Duan Maochuan is a little naughty, but cute. The blood of the food thief is strong in this one.]
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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