Chapter 167: Children’s Thoughts
Translated by Gumihou
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Duan Maoming curled his lips and sneered, “He’s at school alright. But, after lying to old madam and making trouble for first mother, how could he have the face to come back to Spring Breeze Court? That first mother did not kick him and his mother out shows great benevolence. How would he dare to push the limits by coming here? Humph! I’ve already told mother not to bother shielding those two anymore.”
“What’s this nonsense? What does a little brat like you know? Don’t say things terrible like that. You’re not allowed to say things like that anymore, alright? Also, don’t bully Chuan’er at school. I better not hear anything about you bullying your brother.” Su Nuan Nuan warned. Inwardly, she sighed: Looks like Duan Maochuan won’t be coming to her place anymore. Unsurprising, consider how Concubine Jiang was fully convinced that she intended to harm Chuan’er. So, how could she allow her child to come into contact with the terrible first madam?
“First mother is too kind-hearted.” Duan Maoming’s lips grew even more crooked. Su Nuan Nuan didn’t quite glare at him, but he twisted about under her stare for a while before quietly saying, “Alright, alright, I know. I won’t bully him.”
“Chuan’er had suffered great misfortune and nearly lost his life. As elder brothers, the two of you must take good care of him.” Su Nuan Nuan sighed as she directed this to Duan Maofan as well. At five years old, this child has the steadiest temperament. The one with the closest temperament to the little marquis.
“I understand, first mother.” Duan Maofan nodded. Just then, the maids came in bearing snacks. While they ate, Su Nuan Nuan asked after various things, such as whether the school room was too cold for them and what time they were let out of school. After a while, she sighed again and said, “Just how old are you? To be studying so seriously like this. Your father is too strict. At your age, you should be running around outside and playing to your heart’s content.”
Duan Maoming made a little hei-hei laugh and said, “Father actually said the same thing and reduced our studying time. He also didn’t stop us from playing, and we get to come to first mother’s place for snacks after school. And, the school room is as warm as first mother’s place, so… I really feel like having Snow Cream…”
“Ahem…” Duan Maofan deliberately coughed, causing Duan Maoming to blink and stuck out his little tongue. The little boy then lowered his head to concentrate on his snacks. Snow Cream was the reason why first mother was nearly harmed, it was too careless of him to bring up this sore point now.
“There aren’t any Snow Cream, but I will be making all kinds of new snacks from now on for the new year.” Su Nuan Nuan said with a smile as she tugged Duan Maosen onto her knee and pinched those plump little cheeks. “Alright now, you’ve had half a Fresh Flower Pastry, that’s enough. You can’t treat snacks like food. Otherwise I really don’t know how to explain your spoilt appetite to your father and mother.”
As the little group chatted comfortably together, someone announced the arrival of Concubine Jing. Very soon, the curtain flap was lifted, and Concubine Jing came in. At the sight of the little boys, she stopped in shock for a moment, before her lips curved up in a smile. “When did it get so lively? Did all of you sneaked out of class to come here?”
“No we didn’t, it’s almost year end so teacher lets us off early. He also wants to do his new year shopping. After all, it’s not like such an important thing could be done in just one day.” Duan Maofan said with a smile as he leads his brothers in giving Concubine Jing a salute.
“Little Fan’er is always so calm and steady, your way of speaking won’t lose to our lord either.” Concubine Jing said with a smile. She sat down next to Su Nuan Nuan and looked at the items on the kang bed. “Sister made these? Who are they for?”
“For Ming’er. The closer it gets to new year, the colder it is. But the children seem to be at their wildest too. The moment it snows, they’d have a snowball fight; when it stops snowing, they’d ice skate. Still they refused to wear gloves because it prevents them from playing…” Su Nuan Nuan hadn’t finished speaking when Duan Maoming got up and with a [swish, swish] put on the half-finished gloves. He held up his hands and laughed, “First mother, look, look, my hands look like bear paws.”
“In your dreams, if you want your hands to look like bear paws, you better get the Sewing Room to make you Single Finger Gloves.” Concubine Jing’s Single Finger Gloves were actually mittens that left only the thumb exposed, unlike the Half Finger Gloves Su Nuan Nuan was making for the little guys that left only the tips of their fingers and thumb exposed.
“Speaking of which, I’m already done with Chuan’er’s gloves. Since he hasn’t been to school or my place, I didn’t have an opportunity to hand it to him. But now that Ming’er is here, you can bring it home and pass it to him.” Su Nuan Nuan had just ordered a maid to fetch the gloves when Duan Maoming scrambled off the kang bed. In a loud voice he said, “First mother, I just remembered that my mother had something for me to do. I’ll be going now.”
With that, he flew off, followed closely by Duan Maofan and Duan Maosen, leaving Su Nuan Nuan stunned. She was still blinking at the empty spaces where the boys had been when Concubine Jing laughed, “Looks like sister’s affections had not been wasted on these little masters. They are clearly indignant for your sake after Chuan’er lied to harm you and did not want to bring the gloves to the boy. Looks like Little Chuan’s life would be quite hard from now on.”
Su Nuan Nuan frowned, “What’s all this about? Everyone knows that Chuan’er was forced by Concubine Jiang to lie. He’s just a four-year-old boy after all, what did he understand? Who knows what else he had been frightened by his mother to do or say?”
Concubine Jing said slowly, “That is true, however, children are not likely to think too deeply about this. They only know that Chuan’er had bitten the hand that fed him and made false charges against their first mother and felt angry against him.” She sighed, and added, “However, I am really curious. These little masters aren’t the good or virtuous sort, so why are they so attached to madam? They aren’t even as close to their own blood mother.”
Su Nuan Nuan laughed, “Madam Lan and Madam Yun are both young misses of noble houses and prized customs above all else. Even in front of these little chaps, they strived to maintain their aloofness. Oh, they might bestow advice or lessons, but they did it from their chair as though they’re addressing a subordinate. Even if they do love their own child, they still limit their closeness to a certain distance. However, when the children are here, all bets are off. They can freely be themselves and be as rowdy and sticky as they like, so of course they enjoy being here better.”
“Sister, the way you say it, it’s as though you are not a noble young miss yourself. Isn’t the Duke of Ping in a highly respectable position? It’s just too bad that now…” suddenly remembering Su Nuan Nuan’s sad past, Concubine Jiang stopped speaking. She changed the subject, saying, “Sister, please forgive this one for being nosy, but, while the children might be innocent and bore you no ill will, but it’s a different story with the lord’s other wives and concubines who wished nothing but ill will against each other. Have you not learned anything from the incident with Chuan’er? I think, it’s better for you to find some reason to have all the young masters stay at your place.”
Su Nuan Nuan said helplessly, “When did I turn into someone who doesn’t know how to protect myself? When Chuan’er did not come over today, though I pity him, I did not ask after him. As for the children, for some reason they really like coming over here.
The lord heir also likes having them over. He often helps them with their homework or teaches them a few brush stroke techniques. Am I supposed to just forbid them to come? On what reason? That I’m afraid of his wives and concubines? If I were to voice my dissatisfaction, the lord might just round up all his children and send them to my place. Isn’t this just like ‘Lifting a rock only to drop it on my own feet’?”
Author White Pear Flower: Actually the children aren’t little white eyed wolves. Duan Maoming really had no idea that the whole thing actually stemmed from his one single remark to his mother.
[Gumihou: Ah, kids. That’s why I don’t want any. Also, I don’t know why Su Nuan Nuan consider having the children over as bad luck, especially after Concubine Jing actually encourages her to find an excuse to have them over.]
Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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