The Feast – 274 – News of a Death

The Feast – 274 – News of a Death

Chapter 274: News of a Death

 

Translated by Gumihou

Edited by Vinisha

Please read this at kitchennovel dot com

 

Su Nuan Nuan laughed, “As a person who walks in the light, do you think I’d speak in riddles? Do you think I had sent them back because there’s no place for them to sleep here? No matter how small the house, I can still cram a couple of girls with me. No, I sent them back because I thought a certain Lord of the Estate would be too bored without me and took it to his head to begin a window climbing expedition. Wouldn’t it be an embarrassment for My Lord if the girls saw their master climbing through the window just to see me? I drove them all away to help you save face. Who would have thought that you would actually run over here with your thick face and ignoring the looks from Duke of Ping and his Madam?”

Duan Tingxuan began to laugh despite himself, “Oh, so it turns out that my wife is such a considerate person? To think that I have failed to see your kindness. Ah, but my coming over was inevitable after all. As the one true love of my heart, how can I wait until midnight to see your face? Especially now that you’re expecting? How can I not worry? As for your parents, I’m sure if they realised that I am here to take care of you, they would be more than happy to have me here. After all, though there are many children at the Marquis Estate, this is still the first official grandson or granddaughter to the family.”

Husband and wife sat and chatted together on the bed. Su Nuan Nuan said, “Don’t tell me you’re going to stay at my maternal home for the next few days? Are you seriously going to keep running over here every day from now on? Are you not at all worried that Madam Yun and Madam Lan would see me as a hateful thorn in their side?”

Duan Tingxuan said, “What I am more worried about is them getting crooked ideas in their heads. I ended up not sleeping properly due to their machinations. They knew that you weren’t around and exerted all their strength into getting my attention. It bothered me a lot but when I looked into their anxious eyes, I lost all motivation to scold or lecture. However, I can’t really soothe them properly either since it would only encourage them. I’d say the political situation over there is even more delicate and potentially explosive than the ones I face at court. Speaking of which, I must say that you’re too bold. How could you leave your incredibly handsome and outstanding husband on his own in the estate? Are you not afraid that I won’t be able to control myself around these beautiful ladies?”

“Heheheh!”

Su Nuan Nuan laughed without saying anything, and the wise little marquis changed the subject. He sat before Su Nuan Nuan and pressed his ear to her belly, listening to the sound of their unborn child for a long while before standing up. “Come back to the estate in a few days, alright? If you continue to stay here, second brother-in-law and his wife would have to crowd together in a side room, how could you bear to sideline them that way?”

Su Nuan Nuan shook her head with a smile, “Enough of that, once we move back to the estate, do you really think that second brother and second sister-in-law would move in here? Moreover, do you really think there is much difference between this side room and the other side room? Who are you trying to trick? Do you think that just because my belly has grown bigger my brain has shrunk?”

Having his true motive so easily seen through, Duan Tingxuan could only laugh awkwardly. Then, he changed tactics and said firmly, “To be honest, the estate cannot be without your presence either. Though you don’t need to cook for the family anymore, without you in the estate, there is an undercurrent of anxiousness among the people. As though we have lost the backbone of our family.”

“I’m sure it’s all in your imagination,” Su Nuan Nuan did not take his words seriously. “The estate still has both senior madams, Madam Min and the branch lady. With so many pillars of society around, I really have to wonder where your eyes have gone.”

Then, she sighed and said gravely, “Duan Tingxuan, it’s not that I don’t want to return, but you should consider my position and consider the positions of your other wives and concubines. Do you seriously believe that I can peacefully give birth at the estate? I can guarantee that Xu Ran Yun would not just sit back and watch as the future of her son was stripped away just like that. Xue Zhi Lan may be casting an evil eye over me as well. Even with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes, I dare not guarantee that I could completely protect myself from all eight directions.

In the end, I only have a pair of eyes and one brain. Which is why I chose to return to my maternal home. I am doing this for the sake of the child and them as well. As long as I am out of their reach, they can’t do anything that would cause harm to me or to themselves. Once I’ve given birth, it’s possible that they would resign themselves to the future. This is the best ending for all of us. Otherwise, if they dared to strike at the child in my belly, I won’t tolerate it. I would want them to die without a corpse. Aih! We are all women, why do we have to drag each other down like this over a mere man? I refuse to be part of this nonsense and therefore chose to retreat.”

Duan Tingxuan gave a bitter smile, “Nuan Nuan, you’re too naïve. If they wish to strike at you, this is the best place for it. Though there are not many servants at Spring Breeze Court, they are all completely loyal to you and are not easily bought over. Even if they wish to do something, what could they do when they cannot even find an opening? But here? Though this might be your maternal home, there is no way to know a person’s true feelings. What if they hold a grudge from something you’ve done in the past or had been bribed or even tricked? You don’t even have a single maid beside you and I can’t be with you all the time, what if something happens?”

At this, Su Nuan Nuan reeled back with shock. It was then that she realized that she had treated the matter too lightly. Unable to think up a counterattack, she could only say, “What should I do? I’m already under some prenatal depression, am I going to pick up prenatal paranoia as well? Why must the heavens torment me like this? I just happened to transmigrate into this place, everything she did, or you did for that matter, has nothing to do with me. Surely the gods can’t punish me for things I didn’t do? If the gods want to look for someone to take the blame, They can go and bother the God of Transmigration.”

When Duan Tingxuan heard her mutter angrily at the gods, he could not help but laugh as he gently pulled her into his arms. “Don’t worry, I would never let anything happen to our child. You stay here for another two days and get to know your mother a bit more before going back. Moreover, the longer you stay here, the more likely they would see some flaws in you. Though I cannot say that father and mother-in-law are as intelligent as I, Su Meng Nuan is still their daughter, ah. As the saying goes, no one knows a child better than their parents.”

“Yes, yes, you’re right. As I thought, a bystander sees more, I have completely forgotten about this point. Alright, I’ve decided. I’ll stay here for another three to five days at most and pretend that I can’t stand you whining for me to return to the estate and leave. Wu! You can also pull the ‘Tiger Skin as a Banner [1]’ move and say that Old Madam misses me and is urging me to go back. I believe that mother and father would be sensible and would probably cart me off to the estate even if I refuse to leave.”

“Surely there’s no need for you to put so much effort into it? To even use Old Madam as a tiger skin banner?” Duan Tingxuan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. In reply, his wife looked up earnestly and said, “It’s a matter of face, my face, you understand?”

“Yes, yes, yes, I understand.” The little marquis nodded hastily. In the end, as members of the aristocracy, nothing was more valuable than face and status.

As the couple refined their plans and discussed the details, none of them would have imagined that before they could put any of it into action, a major event happened at the An Ping Estate and she had no choice but to return to the estate immediately.

 

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It was the third day since their talk, the fifth day since Su Nuan Nuan began her stay at her maternal home. She was currently in a good mood after making and eating some small dishes with Madam Liu and her sisters-in-law. Comfortable and happy after a good meal, the ladies sat together and chatted casually.

The talk eventually went to the people throwing themselves at the gate in hopes of being taken in as servants. Her sisters-in-law were thinking of purchasing a couple of the more mature ladies as rough labour servants. After all, the floors needed sweeping and clothes needed washing. All very tiring and tedious jobs that had to be done to maintain a house.

In the end, these women grew up as pampered young ladies of rich nobles and officials. Though they had suffered and worked harder than this at Niu Tou Mountain, now that they had returned to the Capital, they could not help but wish to live a more leisurely life. Moreover, their maternal families as well as the An Ping Estate had sent money, food, medicine and precious cloths to them. Though they could not act too extravagant in public, surely there’s no harm in purchasing two servants to help with the rougher chores?

As Madam Liu listened, she was gradually persuaded by her daughters-in-law. When she turned to ask for Su Nuan Nuan’s opinion, she found that her daughter had nodded off in the middle of their gossip session. She pursed her mouth and smiled, and flashed her eyes at the other women to lower their voices.

The ladies complied, both covering their mouths with their sleeves as their eyes twinkled. The chatting continued in voices that were barely above whispers as Su Nuan Nuan’s breathing deepened and even out. Just then, an unexpected voice called out from the door, “First Madam, you better come back. Something bad has happened, Madam Yun has gone back to heaven.”

Su Nuan Nuan woke up in the middle of a nod by the unexpected noise. Madam Liu was about to scold whoever that had the temerity to come charging in to disturb their rest when the content of the cry registered with her. Madam Yun returned to heaven? Is this a death report from the An Ping Estate? No wonder the person sounded so urgent and hoarse, this was indeed a major event.

She was still thinking about it when a well-dressed woman rushed into their little living room. It was someone she recognised, she had seen this woman when they last visited the Old Madam. It was one of Madam Yang’s personal maids, a girl from the Zhou family, Zhou Ming.

By this time, even Su Nuan Nuan had also recovered from the shock and had lost all sleepiness to say, “Matron Zhou, what… what did you say? Who returned to heaven? You… you meant to say someone… someone died?”

Because there were people in the house, the main gate was not locked, which was how Matron Zhou was able to rush in. when she heard Su Nuan Nuan’s question, she forced herself to calm down and said in a choked voice, “In reply to First Madam, it’s Madam Yun. Autumn Rain Pavilion’s Madam Yun is… gone.”

“How can this be?”

At this point, Su Nuan Nuan still believed that she must have heard wrong. She stood up and continued her barrage of questions, “When I left she was still healthy as a horse, right? No one said anything about her being ill, or, or… I’ve only been at my maternal home for five days, how could she just… just die? Impossible.”

“It was all very sudden.” Zhou Ming took out a handkerchief to pat her eyes, “Early this afternoon she was still fine. She gave her greetings to Old Madam and it was all very normal. Who would have thought that when evening came, a maid ran over to seek Elder Madam bearing news that Madam Yun was very sick and to call the physician over. By the time the imperial physician arrived, she was… she was no longer breathing…”

Su Nuan Nuan stood stock still, staring at the maid with very wide eyes. Until now, she still could not bring herself to believe all of this. Matron Zhou Ming studied her expression secretly from the corners of her eyes and thought: First Madam’s reaction did not seem fake, looks like Madam Yun’s death had nothing to do with her. But then, who did it? Who in the estate would have such skill and daring as to cause Madam Yun, a mistress of the An Ping Estate, to die without a noise?

She was still thinking when Madam Liu said, “Nuan Nuan, good child. Don’t be too upset, come and sit down first. The foetus cannot bear too much excitement or shock.” Then, she turned to her two daughters-in-law and said, “Quick, go and bring the Soothing Pills over.”

“No need, mother. I was just too surprised by the news. I will be fine once I calmed down.”

Su Nuan Nuan had recovered herself by now and pulled at Madam Liu’s sleeve. Excitement or shock? Heheh, she was not that close to Xu Ran Yun. As for the Soothing Pill, who knows whether that thing was really good or harmful to the foetus? Better to skip it.

Seeing that Su Nuan Nuan had recovered from her shock, Madam Liu also calmed down. Relieved, she said accusatively at Zhou Ming, “As for you, no matter how urgent or important the matter is, there’s no need for you to run screaming and shouting the house down. Don’t you know that your First Madam is expecting? A weaker woman might miscarry from the shock of your shouting.”

 

[Gumihou: … 0o0 …]

 

[1] Tiger Skin for a Banner – Fake excuse

 

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