Chapter 260: Show of Power
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Vinisha
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Propelled by the throbbing hate in her heart, she finally arrived at Autumn Rain Pavilion. When she stepped through the gate into the courtyard, she saw Xu Ran Yun standing in the middle of the yard, her hair flying free like a madwoman and a solid stick in her hand. She was currently shouting while Concubine Lin and Duan Xinqi were desperately trying to hold her back. The objects of her ire were Concubine Jiang, Rong’er and two low-level maids. The women were being held down by Feng Xian, Cui Bing and other courtyard maids and matrons loyal to Madam Yun.
Duan Xinqi was currently shouting at Feng Xian, “Have you not seen your mistress’ condition? Are you going to let her kill Concubine Jiang? You are the true ringleader and yet you still refuse to let these people go?”
Feng Xian cried tearfully, “Second Young Miss, our madam is different from before. If this maid doesn’t listen and let Concubine Jiang go, she would have us killed instead…”
She had barely finished speaking when a loud voice snapped, “Too audacious!”
Without waiting to see their reaction, Su Nuan Nuan strode into the courtyard, her eyebrows straight and heroic. Her phoenix eyes carried a ferocious glint as she glared around. Her face, beautiful and delicate, looked especially lively and alluring when sharpened with anger.
“What are you trying to do? In broad daylight and under the heavens for all to see, you still dare to kill a person from the An Ping Estate?”
Su Nuan Nuan demanded sternly as she stormed into the middle of this whole spectacle. At the sight of her, the tension loosened in Concubine Lin and Duan Xinqi’s hearts. Xu Ran Yun took the opportunity to slip out of their grasp and charged towards Su Nuan Nuan. No longer bothered with her image, she stretched out her neck and howled, “So what if I want to beat my maids to death? What does it have to do with madam? You already control the heavens and the earth, must you also control how I educate my maids?”
The crisp sound rang out across the whole courtyard. The echo of it silencing everything else. Everyone looked at Su Nuan Nuan in disbelief and thought: First Madam is incredible, ah. In the past, she did not bother to give face to the branch lady, and later, whether it was Concubine Jiang or the bandits who attacked Pushan Temple… anyone who dared to challenge her authority would end up with soot on their faces. The people within this estate had not yet witnessed her true ferociousness. Wu! It’s not that there aren’t any.
If Ms. Xue had been here, she would have nodded to herself at First Madam’s show of authority. While still banished at Mei Yue Lou, didn’t she pick up a chopper and slammed the edge deep into a cutting board while smiling eerily at them? That creepy smile had haunted the kitchen maids’ nightmares for a long time.
Xu Ran Yun was also shocked. She reached up to touch her stinging cheeks before shrieking, “You hit me? You dared to hit me?”
“Why would I not dare?” Su Nuan Nuan sneered and said mockingly, “Have you gotten senile with age? Or has my generosity and subsequent absence this past year made you forget how I had been before Mei Yue Lou? Look at what you’ve done to your courtyard, who could bear to live under such a terrible atmosphere? You even dare to scream and yell at Concubine Jiang, threatening to kill her. Just ask yourself, do you really not deserve those slaps?”
“Deserve? Deserve those slaps?” Xu Ran Yun clenched her hand against her chest. Her entire body shaking. Her voice pitched even higher as she shrieked, “Even if I deserved to be slapped, only the senior madams have the right to strike me. What reason do you have for striking me? Even the lord never laid a finger on me.”
“The lord is a seven feet tall man. For him not to strike a woman is part of his demeanour as an elegant, learned man. However, that doesn’t mean that his wives and concubines could just go around acting out of control and disregard the rules of the estate.” Su Nuan Nuan informed her coldly.
When she finished speaking, Xu Ran Yun let out a sharp laugh and this time, she was the one who sounded stern, “Act out of control? Disregard the rules of the estate? Hahaha… madam, how many times have you broken the rules already? Are you sure you have the right to come and reprimand me now? Just how did Bi Wan die that time? Have you forgotten? If not for her having muddled into the lord’s bed, do you think she would die from a sudden sickness just a month later? It was just her bad luck that the lord never paid much attention to her, otherwise, how could you have gotten rid of her so easily? Still dare to tell me off with this kind of record?”
Wei, the original goods still have this kind of past? Aih, though one could say that the maid must have brought it on herself for trying to climb the ranks this way, but for her to die from such a mistake was just too tragic. The people in this era don’t treat servants like humans, ah.
Though Su Nuan Nuan regretted the loss of life, she did not show the sadness or compassion on her face. In a low voice, she said, “Whether Bi Wan died suddenly or under suspicious circumstances, that has nothing to do with you. As you’ve said just now, she is my property and it is up to me how I wish to treat her. But Concubine Jiang is different, she is the lord’s person. Everyone in this estate knows that she is the lord’s concubine and that Chuan’er is the son of the lord and this concubine. She is no longer your maid, and not someone you could just simply beat or kill without permission. For you to scream for her life, just what kind of evil intention is hidden in your heart?”
The implication could not be clearer. For a moment, Xu Ran Yun was stunned and did not know how to counter this attack. Finally, she could only grit her teeth and snarled, “I don’t care. So what if she’s the lord’s person? Who was the one who allowed her to climb up the social ladder? Not only was she not grateful, but she took advantage of my grace and supported outsiders. How could I not beat her to death? If I were to let her enter Spring Breeze Court just like that, what would the rest of the estate think of me? They would spread slander about how I’ve supposedly harm this witch. Servants who entrap their masters like these are worthless, am I supposed to just keep a treacherous creature like her beside me?”
As she spoke, Xu Ran Yun suddenly burst into tears and pointed tragically at Concubine Jiang, “You… you just say it. How have I ever mistreated you? Without me, do you think you’d be able to become one of the Lord’s bed companion? Why don’t you take a good look at just what kind of worthless thing you are? Ever since you’ve given birth to Chuan’er and had elevated to concubine status, I’ve shared everything I had with you.
Even when I was bullied by the First Madam, I still did my best to protect you and this is how you repay me? Even the mountain wolves have a better sense of loyalty than you. You’re a beastly creature who bites the hand that feeds you. Now that my status had fallen, you’ve chosen a new thigh to hug, you… you can just keep dreaming. I will have you killed before I let you disgrace me like this…”
Su Nuan Nuan looked coldly at Xu Ran Yun. Suspicions broiling in her heart. She privately thought: Just what is Xu Ran Yun planning now? Isn’t feigning madness better than this play for sympathy? Doesn’t she know that this won’t do her any good and would only bring more shame onto herself? Or, was this her real thoughts and she was really prepared to kill Concubine Jiang in broad daylight in front of these witnesses? Surely she would not be so bold, right?
If she really did that, as the daughter of an earl, her family background might be able to preserve her life, but Duan Tingxuan would no doubt send her back to her maternal house or put her under house arrest. Just why would she take such a risk? Has she really gone crazy? I don’t believe it.
“Cong’er, Xing’er, the two of you support Concubine Jiang and bring her to Spring Breeze Court. Rong’er, are her belongings all packed up? Have someone bring everything over.” Su Nuan Nuan was unable to see through Xu Ran Yun’s heart, but so what? Let’s just ignore her for now and concentrate on moving people out of danger.
Suddenly, Xu Ran Yun shrieked, “Which one of you dare to leave?!”
“Just go, which one of you dare stop me?”
How could Su Nuan Nuan just let Xu Ran Yun’s ineffectual challenged go unanswered? By the time this short counter-challenge was issued, Cong’er, and Xing’er had already supported Concubine Jiang to her feet. Rong’er, Yang’shi and two other low-level maids had gone to the side wing and came out with several large cloth bundles in their arms. They presented themselves before Su Nuan Nuan and said softly, “Madam, everything is here.”
“Good, let’s go to Spring Breeze Court now.” Su Nuan Nuan gave the order in a mild voice.
The rest of Concubine Jiang’s maids looked at their mistress with a distressed eye at her dishevelled hair and the blood running down her forehead. Concubine Jiang’s face was very wooden, her eyes like stagnant pools of water staring right at Xu Ran Yun. Anger and hatred were burning in the depths of those eyes, but only Yang’shi and Rong’er who knew her well recognised the look on her face. The rest only saw an unfortunate woman suffering from injustice.
“Let’s go, Madam Concubine.” Yang’shi was really afraid that Concubine Jiang could not take the humiliation anymore and do something rash. No matter what, Madam Yun’s position as their mistress could not be refuted. If Concubine Jiang did something disrespectful to her superiors, no matter how justified, things would not end well for her. Only the First Madam, with her fierce attitude and hatred for injustice, would actually dare to slap Xu Ran Yun twice on the face, gaining back a little face for Concubine Jiang. If it had been anyone else, even this bit of comfort could not be gained.
Concubine Jiang flashed another dark look at Xu Ran Yun, before allowing herself to be pulled away like a wooden puppet. As she stepped haltingly towards the gate, Feng Xian and the rest came forward intending to stop them, but when Xing’er looked up and glared at them, they all withdrew their hands and took two steps back.
When Xu Ran Yun saw how useless her maids were, she rushed forward to personally stop Concubine Jiang. She nearly choked when Su Nuan Nuan grabbed her by the back of her shirt collar causing her to sprawl down on the floor. Su Nuan Nuan switched her glare at the shocked Feng Xian and Cui Bing and said coldly, “Look after your mistress. Take her to her room and let her reflect on her behaviour. Really! Just what age are you? To make such a fuss, are you not afraid of becoming the butt of servants’ jokes?”
“Hahaha… what is there to be afraid of? In this court, a shameless Heir’s Wife with a fallen maternal family still dares to prance around waving her large wolf tail and telling people off as though she still has the right. Su Meng Nuan, if you’re not afraid of being the butt of people’s joke, why should I care? I have no more face to lose.”
Su Nuan Nuan was very angry, but she knew that quarrelling with Xu Ran Yun now would only bring down her own dignity. Whatever, there’s no need to debate with Xu Ran Yun about her own maternal family’s status, everyone would know soon enough. Instead, she harrumphed, turned around and stomped off.
The servants who had been watching the excitement from just outside the gate scattered like startled birds and beasts when they saw First Madam stomping over. Concubine Lin, Duan Xinqi and Concubine Jing only stood around to be acknowledged by Su Nuan Nuan before making themselves scarce. 
On the way to Spring Breeze Court, Su Nuan Nuan said to Yang’shi, “Later, once we reached Spring Breeze Court, make sure to tidy yourself up and wait for Chuan’er to come home. I’m afraid he might not know that you’ve all moved over to my place.”
Yang’shi forced a smile, “Little Chuan’er already knew. Last night, while we packed up our things after dinner, Chuan’er was nearly bouncing off the walls with glee. He was too excited to sleep last night. I’m afraid he’ll be nodding off in class today.”
Su Nuan Nuan forced herself to laugh lightly, “Oh, that little rascal had been coming over to my kitchen every day since I came back. When he hears that he’s moving in, that must be like a dream come true for him? How like the lord he is. When I was at Mei Yue Lou, the lord kept visiting me because of my kitchen as well. Even when I scolded him for acting like a huge rat, he did not care.”
As she and Yang’shi made light conversation, Concubine Jiang continued to listen, but not a word left her lips. Once the reached Spring Breeze Court, Yang’shi immediately tidied herself up and hurried off towards the school to wait for Duan Maochuan to leave school.
Under the guidance of Hong Lian and Xiang Yun, Rong’er and the two low-level maids began moving their belongings into a side room. Su Nuan Nuan called Concubine Jiang to meet with her in one of the front living rooms while the maids were busy rearranging Concubine Jiang’s things.
In a low voice, she asked, “Just what happened to Xu Ran Yun? The Lord himself told her that you’ll be moving here, didn’t he? When he came here, he told me that though Xu Ran Yun appeared disagreeable, she did not protest. But what is the commotion this morning? Did you say something to provoke her?”
Concubine Jiang’s laugh was miserable, “I, provoke her? Madam, you attached too much value to me, just what am I? It is as she had said, I am nothing but her servant girl who’s lucky enough to bear the lord’s child. Even though I am now a concubine, I am still her servant. A lowly servant who could be beaten or killed at her leisure. This is how the world is.”
Author White Pear Flower: First Madam is showing her power here! Awoo!!
[Gumihou: Inner court drama is so intense…]
 Actually, I think the author forgot about the three of them, so I just make them leave gracefully, lol.
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