The Feast – 159 – A Dagger Hidden in Advice

The Feast – 159 – A Dagger Hidden in Advice

Chapter 159: A Dagger Hidden in Advice

 

Translated by Gumihou

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“Yes, thank you madam for advising this lowly concubine. Otherwise, this lowly one might have done something rash.” Concubine Jiang said as she softly gave her thanks. “Madam, please be at ease, though this concubine is the straightforward type, this one would not be so foolish as to try and ‘Strike a rock with an egg’. I still wish to live a good life for Chuan’er’s sake.”

“How glad I am to hear you say this. One of these days, let’s invite Granny Hua over and we’ll light a few longevity lanterns for Chuan’er. I shall, of course pay for the lanterns. We must do all we can to protect this little boy. They say that people who survived near death situations will have great luck. He has already escaped twice, so his future should be very bright. Your latter years should be quite hopeful.”

Xu Ran Yun saw that Concubine Jiang appeared cheered up by her persuasion. She added a couple more placating lines before standing up and said, “Alright, I still have to give the senior madams my greetings. You can stay here, I’m sure everyone will understand that you wish to stay home and look after Chuan’er. The senior madams won’t blame you for being impolite.”

Concubine Jiang nodded, and personally escorted Xu Ran Yun out. Back at her own rooms, Xu Ran Yun saw that Feng Xian had opened up her jewellery case and was laying out the hair pins and accessories for her to pick out. The corner of Xu Ran Yun’s lips lifted, and she smirked, “Since today is the 25th, everyone must go and pay respects to the old madam. Heheh, today is going to an incredibly lively day.”

“Why is madam so sure that Concubine Jiang will make trouble? She looked like she had been soothed by madam.” Feng Xian asked as she stuck a pin decorated with a cluster of flowers into Xu Ran Yun’s hair.

“You don’t know her like I do. She looks meek and mild-mannered, but once cornered, there’s no telling what vicious thing she might do. Chuan’er is basically her life-blood. After her precious boy has been hurt, I’ve closed off her avenue for complaints and basically forced her into a corner. Had I acted in good faith and persuaded her properly, there’s still a high possibility she would have acted out anyway even without us putting on the show just now.”

Xu Ran Yun shook her head regretfully, “What a pity. That boy sure is lucky. It would have been so much better if he had died. I wouldn’t have had to waste so much effort persuading her. Concubine Jiang would probably just lunge at first madam with a knife without anyone prompting. Wouldn’t that be a fun sight? By the way, are you sure you’ve used the correct amount? Surely a four-year-old child couldn’t survive that amount.”

Feng Xian quickly answered, “How could I not follow madam’s instructions? However, if we had use too much, someone might discover something. This one was so afraid that someone might grab hold of the bowl somehow and had to find an opportunity to quickly get rid of it. In the end, we can only say that Little Master Chuan is too good at surviving. After all, who would have thought that Physician Liao would happen to be right at our residence, and appear so quickly? Also, the master arrived almost on his heels with the imperial physician[1]. I had cold sweats just standing there, worried that they might discover something and bring danger to madam.”

Xu Ran Yun nodded, “You’re right. One could never be too careful. Though it looked like I was making a snap decision, I had already thought through most of the details. Of course, I never thought Physician Liao would already be here. Lucky for us, that physician’s skill is a bit lacking. The imperial physician that came in later, I have a feeling that he might have discovered something. Only, after first madam’s meddling, and the boy’s already weakened body, he probably dared not say anything.”

Hearing her explanation, a sudden thought hit Feng Xian. She said anxiously, “Madam, could it be that first madam’s forced vomiting is actually effective? The reason why Little Master Chuan managed to escape with his life is because of this? Otherwise, with the amount this maid had used… aih!”

Xu Ran Yu nodded, “I did suspect that. Only, it’s not something that I’ve ever heard used to save people. So, what real use could it have? Could it be that she was trying to get all the Sweet Ginger Soup out of the boy’s stomach?”

“So, it’s like this…” Feng Xian did not finish her sentence, but pressed a hand over her chest and said anxiously. “Luckily everyone’s attention was on Little Master Chuan, otherwise, the moment anyone thought to test the thing he had thrown up… but nobody did… thank heavens nobody thought to do so. It was all cleaned up by the maids.”

Xu Ran Yun stood up, and sneered, “Whatever, there’s no point talking about this now. No matter what, as long as we did not leave anything for anyone to find, nobody could say anything. Let’s go, it’s time to head over to old madam’s place. I really do not want to miss this wonderful show.”

Mistress and maid put everything in order and left for the North Court together. Looking at all the collected snow on the ground, Xu Ran Yun smiled and said, “Thanks to this business with Little Master Chuan, the snow are still swept up properly. In the past, the moment snow collected like this, there would be all kinds of odd little snowmen and snow creatures all over the place. To think that after such a large snowfall, not a single snowman could be seen.”

Feng Xian smiled, “But of course? When the masters and mistresses are in a good mood, the children’s naughtiness would be tolerated. Occasionally, if any of the snowmen or snow creatures caught the eye of the lord heir or second young master, they might even be rewarded with a few coins. Now that the masters are all tensed, who would dare to act out right now?”

As her voice fell, they spotted servants in charge of Duan Tingxuan’s personal warehouse heading their way. The women paused, and quickly gave their greetings to Xu Ran Yun. Xu Ran Yun harrumphed, and turned her head away. Her husband’s personal warehouse was originally under her care, but was then forcefully ‘dragged’ out of her hands by Su Nuan Nuan. A few days after the Pushan Temple incident, the manager of the warehouse was changed to this Yue family’s woman. So, how could she be happy to see this eyesore?

Feng Xian asked, “Where did Sister Yue come from? Was it the old madam’s place?”

Mrs. Yue smiled, “Yes, I had something to ask first madam. When I reached Spring Breeze Court this morning, they told me that first madam was already at North Court, which is why I went there.”

Feng Xian asked, “What could be so urgent that you have to chase after the first madam like this? It’s not like you’re going to buy new year goods, right? There’s not much income or expenditure going on at the warehouse at this time of the year, right?”

Mrs. Yue said, “Madam is doing some charity work. Refugees winter disaster have arrived at the Capital and she wished to use some money from the warehouse for clothes and bedclothes…” she hadn’t finished speaking when sudden understanding dawn on Xu Ran Yun. In a stern voice, she said, “Doesn’t the An Ping household provides a soup kitchen? Every day, more than a hundred catties of food are given out, even the south side has a soup kitchen at every mile or two intervals. Why is she taking money out of the warehouse for? What on earth is that woman thinking?”

In a neutral voice, Mrs. Yue said, “What madam is thinking, this one is not qualified to ask. However, this one has heard that madam once said that though the refugees might have food to eat, their sudden departure from home left them with almost nothing and nowhere to stay but in abandoned houses and broken down temples. Those places are devastatingly cold in winter. Therefore, she decided to gather old clothing from everyone to send over. However, it turns out there were not enough to go around which is why she had sought leave with the master to use the warehouse funds. The details of which, this one does not know, of course.”

As to why Mrs. Yue even bothered to give an explanation. First, it was to give Xu Ran Yun a mirror into her own character. A privileged woman like you never gave a second thought to these poor refugees. In your mind, giving them a meal a day is already a great generosity on your part; which leads her to the second reason. The use of the warehouse was made under the master’s approval. So, scrap your ideas of using this to drive a wedge between the couple.

 

Author White Pear Flower: The winds are rising again, la, la, la…

 

[Gumihou: La, la, la, la…]

 

 

[1] It’s actually written as Imperial Physician Fang. Don’t know how author mixed up Fang and Han, since the characters are completely different.

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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

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