Chapter 259: Shock
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Onionpi
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Su Nuan Nuan stayed in bed, fast asleep until the sun was high in the sky. When she finally opened her eyes, the entire place was silent. Su Nuan Nuan yawned and stretched in bed, still unwilling to leave her warm cocoon, wriggling back into her blankets to snuggle for a further 15 minutes before finally deigned to try and wake up properly.
She muttered, “My body is only 20 years old, why am I so lazy? If I say I’m tired, the life of a rich, noble madam is so much more relaxing than my previous life, ah. I don’t have to be up at five or work overtime. In fact, I had more energy then! After working overtime, I still went looking for good restaurants and drinking places with friends, but now…? Wu! Could it be that people in this era are just weak? But that can’t be, ah. Just look at that Duan Tingxuan, isn’t that fellow incredibly strong even though he looks thin? He must have muscles inside his bones, ah. I’ve also done a bit of riding horse stance and light kungfu before, but never ended up so tired, right?”
As she continued to mutter to herself, trying to convince herself to move out of the bed, Cong’er pushed aside the door curtain and entered. She smiled and said, “This maid is afraid of disturbing Madam’s rest and had been waiting outside. I came in because I heard voices.” She quickly and efficiently set up the grooming table then helped Su Nuan Nuan freshen up. Just as they were finishing, Concubine Jing’s voice was heard, “Is your madam not awake yet?”
Su Nuan Nuan yelled, “I’m awake, I’m awake, just come right in.”
Hong Lian came in first and held the curtain door open for Concubine Jing. Hong Lian smiled, “May this one know why is Madam Concubine here? And in such a hurry too? Madam has already been by twice just today. It’s almost Mid Autumn now, surely Madam Concubine is very busy this time of the year?”
Concubine Jing smiled, “It’s not easy for me to steal half a day’s rest, but just a line from a little hussy like you destroys my good reputation.” She tugged at Su Nuan Nuan’s hand said, “Sister, today is such a nice day. The sun is not too fierce, and there’s even a nice breeze going on. The fruits and vegetables at Mei Yue Lou are all ready to be picked. How about we go there and collect a basketful? The main thing is to have some fun. Let’s plant some of your Chilli Pepper seeds as well, though the time is not quite suitable, but don’t we have a hothouse? You might as well plant up half the shed. These things look so red and pretty, once they’re ready we can eat some fresh and dry the rest. If we hang up the dried Chillies on New Year’s Day, won’t they look festive? What do you think?”
“What a curious idea, you sure have an interesting mind.” Su Nuan Nuan’s interest had been piqued by Concubine Jing. She stood up and had Xiang Yun fetch the Chilli Pepper seeds she had been hoarding and together, the two ladies left for Mei Yue Lou.
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The previous rundown courtyard with its shabby house had been flattened into a pretty vegetable garden. A paved pathway split off left towards a patch of the garden dedicated for seasonal fruits and vegetables, the right path led towards the hothouses. Majority of the hothouses were dedicated to all kinds of vegetables, while only one was kept for growing flowers. Concubine Jing’s hobby showing itself here.
When the maids working within the area saw them, they immediately rushed over to give their greetings to the mistresses. When they heard that Su Nuan Nuan wanted to inspect the vegetable garden and find a suitable location to plant the Chilli Peppers, one of the Mei Yue Lou matrons smiled, “In answer to First Madam, for the moment, there are only some bok choi, carrots and a few bushes of groundnuts left in the seasonal garden. The groundnuts could be harvested just before Mid-Autumn but it would be sometime before the bok choi or carrots could be eaten.
As for the hothouse, we’ve grown nearly two hothouses worth of spinach. We have grown too much of them, and the masters of the house could not eat them all so we’ve cut most of them for the servants. If Madam wishes to plant Chilli Peppers, please use one of the spinach hothouses. Just one hothouse is more than enough to provide all the spinach needed for the estate.”
Su Nuan Nuan nodded, “Very well, we shall use one hothouse.”
At this, the rough labour ladies quickly escorted Su Nuan Nuan towards the hothouse where they had just harvested most of the spinach. This was no time to be joking around. Do you know how rare it was for rough labour workers like them to show their work in front of a master? If they managed to please madam, wouldn’t she reward them? Everyone already knew that the businesses conducted by the estate collected lots of gold every day.
Yesterday, when the second master and branch lady visited Spring Breeze Court, they brought a large sandalwood box with them. The box was inlaid with gold and jade and everyone was certain that it was filled with banknotes. That box should contain at least several hundred thousand taels worth of banknotes, right? For their personal wealth to be this much, what do you think the public fund was like? Moreover, a bonus was bestowed upon them at every major festival this year. Each time, the bonus became more generous. In the past, they’d be lucky to get an extra string of coins for New Year’s.
Therefore everyone thickened their faces and surged forward to better serve this First Madam. The remaining spinach was quickly pulled out, roots and all. There was no need for Su Nuan Nuan or Concubine Jing to move a finger. The two merely handed out pouches of Chilli Pepper seeds and the matron immediately set the gardeners to work. With time on their hands, they strolled around the flower hothouse, relaxed and pleased with themselves.
Su Nuan Nuan beamed, “These flowers have bloomed very well, especially the roses. Have someone pluck a basketful for me one of these days and we’ll make some Fresh Flower Pastries. Leave it off for the next couple of days, it’s been too busy lately. I don’t think I’ve stopped to have a proper rest until yesterday evening. I still feel rather tired.”
“Even though sister is quite capable, you should still get Ms Xue to brew some tonics for you. After travelling for a few months, I’m sure you haven’t been able to eat as well, nothing could be compared to home cuisine after all and there’s no telling what was really in the food you ate outside. Now that you’re back, you should nurture your body well.”
As the two spoke, they suddenly saw Yang’shi running in with her hair flying in the wind. At the sight of Su Nuan Nuan, she burst out crying, “Madam, madam, come quick, please come. Madam Yun… Madam Yun is going to beat our Madam Concubine to death.”
Su Nuan Nuan and Concubine Jing were shocked. Concubine Jing was the first to collect herself and said sternly, “Speak clearly, why would Madam Yun suddenly beat Concubine Jiang to death? What happened?”
Yang’shi spoke through her tears, “Yesterday the master came to visit Madam Yun and spoke to her at length. When we heard that he wanted to move our Madam Concubine and Chuan’er to Spring Breeze Court. Madam Concubine began packing her things since last night. It took her nearly a whole night to pack, but then this morning, for some inexplicable reason she went to pay her respects to Madam Yun. I am not clear what happened, but they began to quarrel fiercely.
Our Madam Concubine ran out of the house, and Madam Yun chased after her with a pair of scissors in her hand. The courtyard matrons grabbed hold of Madam Concubine nearly shocking me to death. I managed to run out and came here because I heard the others said that First Madam would be here. I am here to beg, to beg for First Madam to please, please rescue our mistress.”
Su Nuan Nuan did not bother to listen till the end, she was already striding towards the Autumn Rain Court even as Yang’shi continued to tell her story. They had walked quite far away from Mei Yue Lou now. Concubine Jing also rushed along with them, her beautiful forehead creased with thought as she muttered to herself. Suddenly, as though coming to some conclusion, she turned to speak with Su Nuan Nuan and was startled by the first madam’s fierce aura. The madam’s chest was heaving with barely repressed anger and the threat of violence.
Concubine Jing said urgently, “Madam, please calm your anger. Madam Yun had been making trouble since early this year and tended to be temperamental. No matter what happens, Concubine Jiang belongs to her courtyard. We must take a step back and assess the situation before making a move.”
“Concubine Jiang belongs to my courtyard now.”
At this, Su Nuan Nuan’s anger level shot up again. She was really angry now. To think that just a few days after she had returned, this Madam Yun dared to jump around and make trouble.
The real reason for moving Concubine Jiang into her courtyard was to assuage her guilt of monopolizing all of Duan Tingxuan’s attention. She wanted to separate the two women so that they would not turn against each other and cause more harm in the future. However, she never would have imagined that Madam Yun would be so arrogant that even Duan Tingxuan’s own words to her meant nothing.
[Gumihou: Nooo… why you so stupid Madam Yun??]
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