Chapter 198: Seize Power
Translated by Gumihou
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Ms. Rong was so angry she nearly shattered her teeth from grinding them so hard. She was about to retort when a maid came trotting in. At the sight of Su Nuan Nuan, she held up a money pouch and smiled, “This is the silver teals master bestowed to you. Also, master said from now on every decision with regards to the kitchen will be made by Ms. Wang. Everyone must listen to her. If any dish comes out not right because of insubordination, the master will have the culprit punished.”
As soon as she was done speaking, she left, not sparing even a glance at the rapidly paling Ms. Rong. Which of Lu Feng Yu’s maid is not brimming with ambition and self-interest? This Ms. Rong had clearly lost power. The master was bored of her cooking. It was very clear that this Ms. Wang would be taking over the place soon. If one wants to establish good relationships, one must start with Ms. Wang. As for those who were like sisters with Big Sis Rong, well, you girls better go and hide where the weather’s cooler now.
“Ms. Wang is such an understanding person. Come, let us all take a rest. Only those who are on duty shall stay back.”
Mrs. Liu was a quick-witted person and had a good feeling about Su Nuan Nuan. Once she recovered from the shock, she was the first to climb aboard Captain Nuan Nuan’s ship. As expected, the moment she threw in her hat in, the rest began to follow. Everyone called out, ‘Ms. Wang is so understanding~’ and other similar flattery, before hurrying out of the kitchen. Not a single one was at all concerned about Ms. Rong’s face or injury.
Ms. Rong’s complexion has gone beyond pale, her face was ashen. She ground her teeth, stomped her foot and turned to leave, Mrs. Zhang and Xiao Yun scrambling after her. Su Nuan Nuan stood there watching as the three left together. Once they were out of sight, she sighed, “Why all this bother? When times are good, you oppress others. Now that you’ve fallen from grace, not a single person bothered to speak for you, is it worth it?” she glanced over at Duan Tingxuan and said in a soft voice, “Didn’t I say that coming here is an unhappy thing, but you said it probably won’t be. Well, what does your eyes tell you? With Lu Feng Yu like that, the people in this court…”
“My dear wife,” Duan Tingxuan quickly pulled at Su Nuan Nuan’s hands. He said bitterly, “Please, please watch your mouth a bit more. How could you just speak the master’s name like that? No matter how much he likes your food, he’s still the master, ah. Alright, alright, let’s not talk about it anymore. You’ve already tire yourself for half a day. Let’s hurry back to our room and rest.”
Su Nuan Nuan eyed the three woman who had stayed back. She smiled at them and said, “You three just stay here and wait for master’s orders. If he needs anything just come over to where I’m staying. You know where that is?”
The three of them nodded. This morning they had been given the orders that a room was to be prepared for someone new. They had already took note of the matter. Moreover, where Su Nuan Nuan was supposed to stay was not far from the kitchen.
With that, both husband and wife left. Not 30 steps later, they encountered a small yard, within it were three small houses. The little yard was very clean and orderly. There were a few trees and some unknown patches of flowering wild plants to give it some colour. A flagstone path lead from the gate into the middle of the yard where a small porch stood, before the path splits off to the three houses.
“Heheh, Lu Feng Yu really treats us well.” Duan Tingxuan sized up the whole place with just a glance. Just then two young maids came up and presented themselves. It looked like Lu Feng Yu had sent them here to serve the couple. One was called Feng’er and the other Xiao Chan. Duan Ting Xuan and Su Nuan Nuan exchanged a glance, though it was most likely true that these two were here to serve, the possibility that they were spies was high too.
Upon entering the house, they found that it was fully furnished. The tables and chairs, dishes and cutleries were all new. The two maids poured tea for them and Su Nuan Nuan smiled at Duan Tingxuan, “I was so angry just now, thinking that coming here would be bad, but it looks like master is really generous. Thanks to him, we can also experience the feeling of being served like this. Now that I think about it, being able to live in such a nice place like this in exchange for mere culinary skills is really our fortune. I feel like I’ve really wronged the master this time.”
Duan Tingxuan smiled, “It’s good that you’ve become open minded. Well? You won’t keep blaming me? The last time I tried to advice you, you even kicked me twice. My shin is all black and blue now.”
Su Nuan Nuan rolled her eyes and harrumphed, “What do you know? ‘A Gentleman Dies for Friends Who Understands Him ’, since gentlemen could die for friends, why can’t I cook for him?”
Duan Tingxuan cleared his throat and whispered, “Can you really use the idiom this way? Master is still the master, ah. As a mere cook, can you call him a ‘friend’?”
For some reason, he felt that Su Nuan Nuan’s eyes were particularly charming as she looked up at him and said with low laughter, “If you’re jealous, just say so. There’s no need to be so beat around the bush.”
“There are still people around, what are you talking about?” Duan Tingxuan felt his bones softened. This was not a lie, the little marquis really felt that the very thing that held his body up was crumbling down. It’s so rare to see Su Nuan Nuan look at him with such alluring eyes. Though he knew it was fake, his heart still could not help but be swayed.
The two little maids giggled from their corner. After another glance at the couple, the two of them blushed and backed out of the room. Duan Tingxuan and Su Nuan Nuan continued to chat and laughed together as they enjoyed their tea. Presently, the two maids brought snacks over and said, “The master said that if there’s anything lacking to please inform him, the Matron in Charge will see to it immediately.”
Duan Tingxuan and Su Nuan Nuan made agreeable noises. Duan Tingxuan stuffed one of the snacks into his mouth and laughed, “My wife, you’ve always been sharp tongued, but your heart is as soft as tofu.W why didn’t you speak up for Ms. Rong at the kitchen today? No matter what, we’re still newcomers here, why make enemies so quickly? I see that master really likes your skill, if you begged him, surely the matter can still be mitigated.”
Su Nuan Nuan said mildly, “What do you mean did not speak up? If I hadn’t spoken up she would still be kneeling in place, holding more roof tiles over her stupid head. I’ve already softened my heart for her. Humph! Call me sharp tongued and tofu hearted, that still depends on who I’m dealing with. As the saying goes, ‘If the Upper Beam is Not Straight, the Lower Beam Will Be Crooked’. With master’s cold nature, what kind of good person could stand it here? Therefore, I deliberately didn’t speak up for her.
After having been punished to kneel in the sun, did she regret anything? Well, you’ve seen what happened next. Instead of reflecting over her mistake of taking credit for other people’s work, she heaped her bitterness over my head. Humph, why should I bother to speak up for this kind of people? In the future, she can just die in whatever holes she digs for herself.”
Suddenly, she sniggered, “However, there’s one thing I like about this incident. The master says that a person’s capabilities comes first. This is one thing that is the same as Mingyu Estate, I get the final say in whatever is going on in my kitchen. You know how I’ve always hated being constrained by others. If not for this point, I’d never have willingly leave Mingyu Estate.”
They chatted idly for a bit longer until the sun turns red. It was now time to start the kitchen fires. The two made their way to the kitchen and saw that there were already people ahead of them. At the sight of the couple, they all stood at attention. Su Nuan Nuan sized up the seven to eight people that were standing at attention and smiled, “Our master really is someone who values good food over life. A small estate should need at least 20 or 30 people to maintain, but our kitchen alone already takes up 30% of this place’s man power. Whatever, now that I’m the Chief Cook here, I don’t have much to say except do your work properly and listen to my instructions. Reduce those underhanded fighting and scheming when you’re in here, because that won’t work with me. If our cooking pleases the master, we will all benefit.”
Then, she pulled Duan Tingxuan over and said candidly, “This is my man. He’ll be taking up various odd jobs in the kitchen. I don’t like letting him run around on his own outside and bumping into strangers in the prince’s estate.”
Duan Tingxuan’s mouth twisted, and he muttered, “You’re clearly just afraid I’ll look at other women. How could I?”
The others tittered at this little exchange. Su Nuan Nuan slapped Duan Tingxuan on the arm and snapped, “Enough, still dare to slack off?”
She had hardly finished speaking when the maid that called them over to the main estate that after turned up. She smiled, “Ms. Wang, someone just sent some game meat over. The master is overjoyed, saying that he wants to eat grilled meat today. After you’ve marinated the meat, please personally serve him. The master will bestow some words to you later.”
There was a collective ‘Wah!’ of astonishment from the kitchen, and excited whispers filled the air. For Ms. Wang to serve him was nothing too earth shattering, but the last bit! They have served Lu Feng Yu for close to two or three years by now, when had they ever seen their beautiful, celestial like master be intimate with anyone? Sure, he might value good food over life, but Ms. Rong had been Chief Cook for close to three years now, and her skills were nothing to sneeze at, but she had never been given any special consideration like this, ah.
In a flash, all their thoughts rolled into the gutter, and their eyes turned magnetically towards Duan Tingxuan. Everyone imagined that this poor man’s hat was starting to gain a tinge of green . With master’s unique celestial-like countenance, whatever he sin he might have committed to be banished from heaven, it was probably not the lecherous kind. They had never seen him pay any attention to any of the beautiful maids or servants here. There was even a rumour that all four of Nan Jing’s most beautiful courtesans coveted the master’s attention, but he had never even given them a single glance.
Could it be possible that master’s taste in women lies not in appearance, but in cooking skills? After all these years, had a woman with a good enough culinary skill finally caught his eye? Is this… wife snatching? Wu, with master’s attitude, he could really carry this out, ah.
With everyone’s eyes on him, how could the sharp little marquis not discern their thoughts? Feeling that his precious and exquisite wife was in danger of being snatched away, Duan Tingxuan’s eyes became alert. He immediately addressed the maid, “Miss, that is… did the master only call for Ms. Wang to go over? Even grilling meat needs assistance…”
The maid laughed, “The master only gave this much instruction for me to pass on. As to whether she needs assistance, naturally it’s up to Ms. Wang to decide.” With her message properly conveyed, the maid floated off, snickering darkly in her heart. What kind of person did that country bumpkin think our master is? My sisters and I have been serving the master for over three years, which of us is not a great beauty in our own right? His Lordship meant for us to serve him in a more intimate capacity as well, but until now not even one of us beauties have managed to crawl into that large, finely carved bed.
A fallen celestial was still a celestial. So, how could our master be dirtied by the likes of commoners like you?
Meanwhile, the kitchen continued to speculate as their eyes fixed on Su Nuan Nuan. Curses, could the master be letting Ms. Wang make the decision herself? If she wanted to give herself over the master, she would go alone; if she did not wish to, she could bring her husband with her.
Master certainly deserves to be called master, ah. To test the waters so sneakily like this. Whatever happens, he would not lose face. Tsk, tsk, for the sake of that mouth of his, master has certainly put in a lot of effort, ah.
[Gumihou: Lololol, what is this development??]
 It’s the first half of the idiom: A Gentleman Dies for Friends Who Understands Him, A Woman Beautifies Herself for Her Sweetheart
– Basically, this means it’s natural for people to do things for certain reasons To wear a green hat – is to be cheated on by one’s spouse.
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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