Chapter 158: To Cry Without Tears
Translated by Gumihou
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“En, en, en, this is a most excellent suggestion.” Second Young Master Duan suddenly saw the light and began to pace about excitedly in the room. It was as though he was seeing both the heir position and huge amounts of money bobbing along in his future. He was still floating in the air when the voice of an old lady called out, “Second master, madam, dinner is prepared. Would you like us to set the table now?”
Duan Tingye turned, and saw that it was his old nursemaid, Pang’shi. Feeling unusually cheerful, he quickly escorted Pang’shi in and smiled at her, “You should have just sent a maid over for this kind of trivial jobs. Surely there’s no need for you to personally come all the way here?”
Pang’shi said, “Well, it’s not like I have much to do. The girls are all very busy. After such a big happening, everyone is busy rushing about trying to get the latest news. Master, madam, please have your dinner soon. Since it’s winter now, food gets cold very quickly.”
“No need to hurry, what news has granny heard?” Duan Tingye invited Pang’shi to sit on a round stool and smiled winningly at her.
“Aiyo, there are so many news flying about, ne. Some say that first madam had gone unhinged, which was why she dared to attack Little Master Chuan like this. But, everyone knows that this is nonsense. Nobody believes any of it.” Pang’shi waved her hand dismissively as she laughed. The smiles on Duan Tingye and Shi Yurou’s faces froze, Shi Yurou shook herself asked, “Why would no one believe this? Didn’t she… well, didn’t she do something similar last year?”
“That was last year, and no one was completely sure what happened then either.” Pang’shi shook her head and sighed. “The point is, first madam came out of Mei Yue Lou a changed woman. It was as though she has achieved supreme enlightenment. Even if we disregard how well she treats all the little masters, there’s still the Pushan Temple incident. If not for her, dozens of us would have died or been kidnapped by bandits. This old lady might not even be here to serve my beloved master. Therefore, though some people keeps spreading wild accusations, not many actually believed it. In fact, Chang family’s wife and Aunty Lu’s accounting ladies almost came to blows quarrelling over this.”
Duan Tingye and Shi Yurou felt like their beautiful vision of the future had just disintegrated like a soap bubble. Shi Yurou snarled, “What does this have to do with that Chang woman? Isn’t she just a warehouse manager? What’s her connection with first madam anyway? Why is she so defensive over that woman?”
Pang’shi smiled, but said nothing. What is their connection? One very big matter connected them. Chang family’s wife was one of those women designated to be beaten to death. If not for first madam, would they still be alive and living their little lives so peacefully today? If the master had not, for the sake of first madam, suppressed the incident. Who knows what kind of lives they would lead now? In fact, one could say that their lives were saved twice over. So, how could that woman not treat first madam as her benefactor?
“Then, according to granny, sister-in-law wouldn’t be in any danger?” Duan Tingye asked, his voice sounded defeated.
Pang’shi understood her second master’s heart. After firming her resolve, she said carefully, “This old one dare not say anything for certain, but there are a lot of people on first madam’s side. Even if the matter is brought to the old madam, the conclusion will still be unclear. Because the old madam won’t be forgetting the Pushan temple easily either.” Consider it as this old lady’s advice for you two, thought Pang’shi, it’s best for you to not make any rash decisions on bad intelligence. Everyone is very clear what first madam is really like during this half year of interaction. Old madam could also guess the real situation behind this, and would not easily let innocent party be condemned.
“Alright, let’s have dinner. Granny, you go first and make the preparations, alright? My wife and I will be there soon.” Duan Tingxuan forced a smile on his face as he herded Pang’shi out. Once they were alone, he looked at Shi Yurou. They stared at each other in dismay for a long time. Suddenly, Shi Yurou’s lips trembled, and she burst into tears. Hammering the table with her fists she cried, “Why is it like this? Why did the Pushan Temple thing have to happen? Such a wonderful opportunity ruined just like that? It’s not fair! My lord, this is just not fair! We’ve waited so many years, and finally, finally… wu, wu, wu…”
“Timing is also fate,” Duan Tingye also sighed. He helped his wife up and wiped the tears on her cheeks, saying, “Just give it up, ba. No matter how unfair or unreconciled you feel, you must accept the fact that the main house has the upper hand in this. In the future, we might still be able to snatch a victory, but not today. All we can do is wait for an opportunity to strike. There, dry your eyes. Tomorrow, you will be giving your daily greetings to the old madam, if someone really comes out to frame sister-in-law, you must be the first to step in and defend her. We might not be able to conspire against them, but we can still earn karma points from this.”
“Wu, wu, wu… what for? Why must I help her?” Shi Yurou actually stamped her foot. As if to rub salt into her emotional wounds, she saw her beloved Persian cat trotting into the room, Zhao Cai swaggering in behind her. Her emotions exploded and she pointed angrily at Zhao Cai, “Did you see that? Even her cat is strutting about in front of me. Wu, wu, wu… and you want me to defend her…”
“Very well, just think of it like this. We’re not defending her. We’re defending our stores. We are speaking for the sake of money! All your frustrations, all your suppressed grief, you can take it out on your sisters once we’re at your father’s household. We’ll blow them all out of the water with our lavish gifts.”
Now that matters had come to this point, what could they do but try and salvage their feelings this way? Husband and wife held hands as they made their way to the dining room. No matter what, those two looked like they were crying without tears.
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Duan Maochuan’s situation remained unclear for the next three days. It wasn’t until the fourth day that he could finally force himself out of bed.
The storm that everyone had been waiting for with bated breath never arrived. Concubine Jiang spent all her time carefully tending to her child, so everyone was 80% sure that this whole thing would blow over soon. After all, anyone with working brain cells in their head should know that if first madam really wanted to harm Duan Maochuan, surely she won’t be stupid enough to use such a crude and obvious manner? Surely there’s no need for her to induce vomiting either? By doing this, she has to know that the moment Duan Maochuan died, suspicions would be cast on her. Normally, under such risky situation, who but a blood mother would dare to meddle in the child’s treatment? Clearly, the first madam saw Duan Maochuan as her own child and was desperately trying to save him.
On the fifth day, Duan Maochuan was finally declared as recovered by the physicians.
Early that morning, even before the sun was out, Concubine Jiang was already up. She sat in front of the mirror as maids put up her hair. The maid had just finished putting in two silver hairpins in when someone announced that Madam Yun had arrived. Concubine Jiang stood up to welcome Xu Ran Yun in. She smiled mildly and asked, “Why is madam up so early? This one was just thinking about greeting you a little later.”
“What is the situation now? There’s no need for you to bother over formalities like this.” Xu Ran Yun glanced past Concubine Jiang and remarked, “I heard that Chuan’er had a bowl of rice porridge yesterday and had been anxious all night, but thank goodness all is quiet at your place. The night has been very cold and I could no longer sleep, so I thought I’d have a look at little Chuan’er.”
Concubine Jiang said, “Thanks to madam’s concern, Chuan’er has been getting better and better. This one shall thank madam on his behalf. When he’s woken up, I shall order him to kowtow to madam.”
Xu Ran Yun waved a benevolent hand and shook her head. “There’s no need for that. We have no need for empty courtesies between us. I am worried for Chuan’er, but in truth, I am even more worried for you. I was so worried that you might cause trouble at Spring Breeze Court, but thankfully, you’ve been very good and calm these few days. I am so relieved, you must have considered every little detail and decided not to pursue the matter after all.
Though you’ve clearly thought things through, I must still give you one more advice: You must never harbour any grudge in your heart, after all ‘The arm cannot wrestle against the thigh. You must take everything into consideration before making any decision. Look at me for example, though I am still in charge of half the household, do you see how I still have to lower my head to her?
But, let’s not talk about me. Even the branch lady, the second master’s official wife and the one in charge of the other half of the household. Someone who should not have to give in to that woman, but what is the reality? Did you not see how respectfully she acts around that woman? Last year when Chuan’er fell into the pond, not only the senior madams, even our lord was displeased with her. But now? It’s like nothing had happened. Leaving aside her current presence, which is like a ‘Broiler that gives out heat’. If you go make trouble for her, you’ll just end up embarrassing yourself. Let me tell you now, whatever you do is pointless.”
Concubine Jiang bit her lip. After a long time, she hissed, “This one does not believe that the entire mansion has completely lost their minds. There is no proof last year, but this time…”
She hadn’t finished speaking when Xu Ran Yun’s expression changed. Xu Ran Yun quickly rushed forward to grasp Concubine Jiang’s hands and passionately declared, “Don’t be silly, do you have proof now? She is the first madam, ah. The lord’s officially wedded woman, the heir’s wife. As for you? What are you? A dowry maid concubine who could not even raise your head if they decide on your death. Surely this small slight is nothing? If you make trouble for her, not only will you gain nothing, you might even invite trouble on your head. Just forget about it, for my sake, forget about all of this.”
Concubine Jiang clenched her fist, and said nothing. Then, she heard Feng Xian said, “Madam, surely there’s no need to be so cowardly? The mansion does not belong to first madam after all. Also, the one who nearly lost their life is not Concubine Jiang, but Little Master Chuan. Though he’s a shu son, he’s still the master’s son, elder madam’s grandson and old madam’s great-grandson. Though the senior madams did not show their affections much, I don’t believe that the master is so bewitched by that woman that he would ignore his own son and concubine. Unless the senior madams are willing to just allow this injustice to happen? If they do, what would first madam do to Little Master Ming, Little Master Fan and Little Master Sen in the future?”
“You be quiet.”
Xu Ran Yun turned to shout at Feng Xian, “What do you know? Right now the first madam is in power, even if Wan Fang were to beg old madam for justice, even with the lord’s protection, she might still be in danger and might even lose his favour with all her complaining. Right now, we must be grateful that Chuan’er is safe. Why must you go and make trouble where there aren’t any? In the end, not only will she not get her revenge, but might even cause more trouble for herself.
I am here to comfort Wan Fang, why do you have to pour oil over troubled fire? Don’t tell me you’re still ignorant over the situation? Get out of here now. If you can’t maintain the peace, you can just go back to your maternal home.”
Feng Xian looked ashamed but unreconciled, her expression changed a few times, but in the end she left. Xu Ran Yun said gently to Concubine Jiang, “I’ve always been too indulgent with my personal maids. Now that I think about it, I must have spoilt you all too much. You have become soft on the outside, but stubborn on the inside. Even Feng Xian and Cui Bing are the same. Normally this isn’t a problem, but in a crucial situation like this, this kind of attitude will only cause you to eat a loss.
You listen to me now, take good care of Chuan’er and don’t go making trouble. I believe that first madam would not make any waves after this. Otherwise, why would she suddenly run over here to put on that performance? Wan Fang, ah. You should have seen through her at that moment, it is all a trick to bewitch our lord. Otherwise he would have thrown her out of the room where Chuan’er is resting. Even you, his blood mother is sent out to rest while the two of them watch lovingly over Chuan’er.
How could you still not see how our lord treats his first madam?”
Author White Pear Flower: To be honest, I always enjoyed writing about Second Master Duan and Shi Yurou. I don’t hate them at all, but feel sorry for them sometimes, hahahaha!
[Gumihou: …. seriously? Xu Ran Yun, your bullshit ability must have a limit somewhere, right?]
[Gumihou: Also, I’ve been playing around with text emoji…]
Shi Yurou: (ಥ﹏ಥ) and (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Duan Tingye: (ง’̀-‘́)ง but mostly (̲̅ ͡$̲̅ ʖ $̲̅ ͡)̲
Xu Ran Yun: ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ)
Concubine Jiang: ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)
 The arm cannot wrestle against the thigh – The weak cannot win against the strong  Broiler that gives out heat – arrogance of the powerful; incredible reputation that precedes them
Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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