Chapter 289: To Perceive the Finest Detail
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Onionpi
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com
Concubine Jiang was clearly very satisfied with life and very proud of herself. She had, more or less all by herself, cut down two deadly enemies in one swoop in exchange for a peaceful and happy life. She had left no trace and no evidence behind her, so how could she not be happy?
Seeing her mistress so cheerful, Rong’er also grew pleased and was about to tell a joke and see her mistress laugh some more when her eyes strayed towards the door. Instantly, the joke became stuck in her throat, her eyes widened in horror. The man at the door said nothing as the girl suddenly went pale.
Noticing something wrong, Concubine Jiang quickly followed Rong’er’s line of sight. When she saw who was standing at the door she leapt to her feet and nearly swooned as a strange whooshing sound boomed through her head. She was so shocked that she forgot to greet him.
“If I had not heard what you’ve just said, I would never have spared you.”
Duan Tingxuan slowly stepped in. He swept his robe aside and sat on the couch. Concubine Jiang finally regained her senses and quickly got down to her knees. Rong’er had already collapsed to the floor, too stunned to even kneel properly. Together, the women shook like a pair of leaves with their heads hung low, not daring to say a single word.
“It was certainly an excellent scheme. Kill Xu Ran Yun and let Xue Zhi Lan’s desire to harm Nuan Nuan take the fall for you. She reacted just as you’ve expected. This scheme of yours could not have been successful without internal help. It just so happens that Cai Sang’s brother was ruined by that useless Xue Mingli. So much so that she was willing to throw herself into a pit of hell for revenge.
You must have had little problem persuading her to go with your schemes, right? With a scapegoat ready to take all the blame, you and Rong’er could stay out of it. In fact, with Cai Sang having exposed such a terrible sin, no one in their right mind would punish her severely. You would have gotten away with your scheme and she would escape with only light punishments. A most excellent scheme indeed.”
Concubine Jiang could only bring herself to call out these two words, but she dared not say anything else. Just how did this man see through her clearly perfect plan? The Lord never involved himself with inner court fights before. He barely said anything during the initial investigation. First Madam was the one leading the questioning, wasn’t she? However, in the end, she was still caught. She was nearly paralyzed with fear. Having been caught boasting over her schemes, what could she say?
“However, just the promise of revenge is not enough. So what was it? What else have you promised Cai Sang?” Duan Tingxuan said mockingly, his hands carelessly playing with the jade token hung from his belt.
“Th- this lowly one has promised to… to redeem her brother and sister-in-law. A-and let them enter this estate as servants.” Concubine Jiang stammered.
Duan Tingxuan stayed quiet for a long time. So long that she nearly fainted a few times while she swayed on her knees. Finally, the little marquis stood up and said, “The Old Madam had always intended to build a Buddhist Hall within the estate. We will need someone to look after the place future. Once construction is finished, you will move. You will stay within the temple grounds. Chuan’er may come and see you every day, but he won’t live with you.”
“Yes, this lowly one thanks My Lord for his generosity. This lowly one thanks My Lord for his forgiveness.” Concubine Jiang banged her head against the floor. She knew that Duan Tingxuan was being very generous with her.
Duan Tingxuan obviously did not want to stay any longer. He stood up and was about to leave when he suddenly stopped at the door. Without turning back, he asked, “Why on earth did you come up with such a terrible way to deal with Ran Yun and Zhi Lan? Is it because they harmed Chuan’er?”
“This lowly one dare not conceal anything from My Lord, this is the most important reason.”
Concubine Jiang’s consciousness was finally returning to her. She slowly sank to the floor and laid her head down as she sobbed a little. Slowly, she said, “This lowly one’s status is humble and cheap. As long as Madam Yun and Madam Lan’s desire to harm First Madam do not die, sooner or later Chuan’er will face death again. That is why this lowly one decided to employ the strategy of ‘The first to attack, wins’.
Moreover, both Madam Yun and Madam Lan had been getting very close lately. This lowly one knew that this was not at all-natural, and knew that the only reason for them to join their hands was to face a more powerful opponent. The only opponent that this lowly one could see is First Madam. Though this lowly one respects and admires First Madam, not all of it had been done for her sake. First Madam is this lowly one’s protection. If she falls, this concubine will die along with her. Therefore, this lowly one must ensure that she lives well. That is why this lowly one took action during First Madam’s absence to prevent any shame from staining her. However, in the end, this lowly one’s scheme had been seen through by My Lord.”
Duan Tingxuan’s eyebrows lifted slightly. He knew that Concubine Jiang had said the last part deliberately. Though this woman had not experienced much of the world, she was able to use her intelligence to kill two birds with one stone and left no trace of herself. It was no wonder that she was secretly proud of herself. She must wonder how her scheme had been so quickly seen through.
“At Autumn Rain Court, you said something. When Zhi Lan accused you of harming Ran Yun, you claimed that you’ve never gone back to Autumn Rain Court ever since you left it for Spring Breeze Court. You said: Just how did I do it? When? How? Just how did I put the grounded lotus root into Madam Yun’s food? Do you remember this?”
Since only half a day had passed, of course, Concubine Jiang still remembered. She nodded and said, “Yes, this one remembers.” She was still wondering what on earth she had said that was so suspicious.
Duan Tingxuan laughed derisively. He said mildly, “When Xu Ran Yun died suddenly, all her food and drink, as well as the utensils, were all preserved for the imperial physician to test for poison. We found grounded lotus root in the chicken soup. Aside from the imperial physician and I no one else, not even Nuan Nuan, knew about this. However, you opened your mouth and immediately knew that grounded lotus root had been used. Not powdered or finely chopped lotus root. Tell me now, who should I suspect but you? Why am I the heir to this An Ping Estate? For what reason am I made an official of the imperial court and the confidant of the crown prince?”
Was that all?
Concubine Jiang felt her bones softened as she collapsed to the floor. Until then, she had not even realized the loophole in her story. To think that this little loophole was enough for her husband to suspect her. Was the little marquis too intelligent? Or was she destined to be found out?
As Concubine Jiang lay on the floor, she had no idea when Duan Tingxuan left. All the pride and arrogance she had been savouring before were now ashes in her mouth.
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com ~
“Elder Madam! First Madam has given birth! It’s a plump little boy. Congratulations to Madam,”
The midwife came out with a swaddled bundle, proudly showing the child off to Madam Yang. After admiring the healthy-looking babe, Madam Yang peeked into the birthing room and recollected the shocking scene from two hours ago.
Su Nuan Nuan’s delivery was not smooth. Her water had broken in the early morning, but the child had not come until it was time to light the evening lamps. When the cervix was finally dilated enough for the midwife to see what was happening, they found that the child was in the wrong position. Even in her dreams, Su Nuan Nuan never thought that she would escape death and transmigrated to this ancient times only to catch a glimpse of death’s door through childbirth.
When news that Nuan Nuan was giving birth reached the little marquis, he spent the time pacing about the courtyard like a trapped beast. The powerful but helpless little marquis nearly exploded from the pent up energy. He wanted to rush into the room and cheer his wife on, but was stopped by Madam Yang, Liu Min and the other women. On the belief that having men in the delivery room would bring bad luck.
Author White Pear Flower: Hahaha, how many people reading this would imagine that Concubine Jiang would end up like this? How is this possible? Ah, perhaps it’s because I watch too many ‘Conan’ episodes and did not like the idea of letting the criminal escape the law.
Duan Tingxuan clearly noticed this early on, but did not say anything and just let Xue Zhi Lan fall into the trap of her own making because she threatened Su Nuan Nuan and her unborn child. In a way, Concubine Jiang had saved Nuan Nuan.
Technically, Xue Zhi Lan should be sentenced to death under the charge of targeting Nuan Nuan’s life, but her powerful family background meant she will escape the death sentence. However, due to extreme mental pressure, she went crazy…
Concubine Jiang’s future is still not set in stone. It could still be changed again.
[Gumihou: Nooo, Concubine Jiang… Ah, well, but White Pear Flower did a good job showing that DTX deserves his third-place position at the imperial exams.]
If you love my translations, do consider putting a review at novelupdates!
(The End! For real this time)