The Feast – Extra 2 – Zhua Zhou Fun

The Feast – Extra 2 – Zhua Zhou Fun

Extra Part 2: Zhua Zhou Fun

 

Translated by Gumihou

Edited by Onionpi

Please read this at kitchennovel dot com

 

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Unexpectedly, the little guy ignored the scarlet little rattle-drum and got to his feet. Turning around, he made a bee-line for the table and grabbed the Osmanthus Crystal Cake.

“Hahahahaha!”

This time, even Madam Yang could not suppress her amusement as her body rocked with laughter. Su Nuan Nuan had at first covered her eyes in despair. However, when she heard that her son had gone back to grab more things from the table, she steeled herself to peek through her fingers in hopes to see her son redeem their honour…

Unfortunately, after seeing what he had grabbed, her other hand came up to cover her face. It was all over now, she thought: Our family would forever be stamped with the title of The Noble Foodies. Ahh, I’m going to cry to death, I don’t have the face to face life anymore, ah…

Just think, in the future, if they were to visit any noble mansions in the future, the moment the hosts see them coming they would command the kitchen too, “Quick! Quick! The Noble Foodies are here. Bring out the snacks, bring out more snacks now, otherwise, the mother and son duo would eat us…”

Su Nuan Nuan nearly sobbed at the delusions in her head when Madam Yang’s surprised voice called out, “Ah, he grabbed the little wooden knife.”

Wooden knife? What does grabbing a wooden knife mean? That he likes to perform sword dances in the future? Wait a minute. Why would they put wooden knives on the Zhua Zhou table? Aren’t weapons unlucky?

Su Nuan Nuan lowered her hands, just in time to hear Duan Maoming called out excitedly, “I made that! I made that for little brother. Oh yeah!”

By the way, Su Nuan Nuan was the one who taught him that last incredibly fashionable phrase.

After grabbing the knife, the Little Master Zheng reached out his paws for the large writing brush that his father especially made for him. It turned out that this little brat was not a foodie, he’s just greedy…

To attract his little son’s eye, the little marquis had spent quite a lot of effort making the brush. The shaft was painted a brilliant red, and one could say that his efforts did not go to waste as it had been grabbed by his son. Right now, the little marquis’ heart was as sweet as though he had eaten the best honey.

“That little brat.” Su Nuan Nuan scowled sullenly. Nothing she made had been chosen. Could it be possible that her handy craft skills were just too poor? She was just mulling miserably over this when Duan Maozheng ran to her on his chubby little legs calling “Mother, mother,” sweetly. He deposited the brush and knife in her hands, his bright, grape-like eyes sparkling as he babbled half coherently, “For… for… mother…”

“Good little boy,”

Just like that, Su Nuan Nuan’s heart melted and she pressed a firm kiss on his cheek. She was about to praise him some more when Duan Maozheng ran towards Concubine Jiang, who was holding the fish-shaped steamed bun and Osmanthus Crystal Cake for him. He grabbed the drool covered bun and stuffed it into Su Nuan Nuan’s mouth with a loud and sticky, “Mother, eat!” Next, he grabbed the Crystal Cake, partially crushing it in his fist and stuffing that into Duan Tingxuan’s mouth. “Father, eat!”

The corners of Su Nuan Nuan’s mouth twitched around the red steamed bun. Her smile looked uglier than a crying face as she bit down on the fish-shaped bun with a little shame. The little guy took the bitten off steamed bun and ran towards Duan Maoming and his other brothers, “Brother, brother… eat!”

“Alright, since little brother has given it to us. We must eat.”

Duan Maoming was someone who loves excitement. Seeing his little brother being so endearing he decided to give face on behalf of the other brothers. Hence, he took the remainder of the fish-shaped bun and divided it among the brothers and two little sisters.

Thus, endeth the tale of the scarlet fish-shaped bun.

Su Nuan Nuan sighed quietly.

It’s all over now. The main family’s reputation as foodie will never disappear from now on.

Little Duan Maozheng looked at his empty hands, then at the people before him. There were obviously two other close family members he had not given anything to. He ran over to Madam Yang and stretched out his fingers at her and said in a tender voice, “Grandma, none left… nibble… nibble fingers, ba.”

Laughter burst forth from all around, as everyone excitedly cooed over this little master. This child was just too shrewd. He really did his best to be fair to everyone. But to think that he would actually hold out his fingers to be nibbled on because he ran out of food was just too adorable. Was he really a one-year-old child? Normally, not even four or five-year-olds would be so righteous.

Madam Yang lightly bit down the tender little fingers and the smile on her face was like a gently blooming flower. Little Master Zheng appeared even more excited to have his offering accepted than the praises around him. After that, he extended his little fingers to Concubine Jing and Concubine Jiang, causing tears to flow from the eyes of these often overlooked women.

Though the first two items were the only edible items on the table, her son was able to grab some dignity back with his little performance. Thus assuaging the First Madam’s heart to some extent. Once the ceremony was over, the nursemaid picked Duan Maozheng up and went with Madam Yang to Old Madam’s room.

When the Old Madam heard what Duan Maozheng had grabbed, she cried out in surprise, “My heavens, ah… if I’m not mistaken, aren’t these the very same four things Xuan’er had grabbed last time?”

“Yes, Old Madam.” Madam Yang smiled happily. When she spotted Su Nuan Nuan staring up at Duan Tingxuan, she said, “Did your husband not tell you? On his Zhua Zhou ceremony, he grabbed the only two edibles, and then the knife and a writing brush. What do you think? Though he had not contributed to anything great, he’s still well known for his scholarly prowess and martial arts. Surely there’s nothing for you to worry about?”

“Mother, even I don’t know about this. How could I tell Nuan Nuan, ah?” Of course, the little marquis would have no impression of the time when he was still a one-year-old. He said wonderingly, “But… did I really grabbed those four things back then?”

“How could it be wrong? Old Madam and I remember it perfectly,” said Madam Yang with a smile.

After hearing this, congratulations poured in from all sides and everyone began to say, “It’s already a great thing for the Lord Heir to be respected by the emperor at his age, I’m sure that Zheng’er will grow up to be even more impressive.”

After hearing this phrase repeated all day, even Su Nuan Nuan’s mood became buoyant again. She hugged her son close and kissed him soundly on the cheeks. She said softly, “My son, ah. I, your mother, will not ask for anything too outrageous in the future. I only hope that your happiness exceeds your father by just a little. First, it’s not easy to be happy. Secondly, your father will feel ashamed, you know?”

After the ceremony was the event everyone had been waiting for. The huge banquet at the An Ping Estate. Wine with three dishes in five flavours was served. Though most of their guests were nodding acquaintances who left after the banquet was over, a good number of their close friends stayed until dusk falls before leaving.

After busying herself for a whole day, Su Nuan Nuan felt tired and stiff. When she finally returned to Spring Breeze Court, she quickly had the maids take off the gorgeously elaborated brocade dress and the heavy ornaments off her head. Duan Maozheng was brought to her room by the nurse. The little guy had already fallen asleep in the arms of the nurse earlier, tired out from being the protagonist of the day.

“No matter what, at least that whole ceremony is over now.” Su Nuan Nuan sighed as she moved her neck, cracking the stiff muscles there. She cuddled up to her husband’s arms and sighed, “You might not know this, but when that little rascal grabbed those two things, my heart was in my throat. It was only after mother-in-law told me that you also grabbed these things during your ceremony that I was able to calm down. If Zheng’er could inherit your EQ and IQ, I’ll be quite happy.”

“Be at ease, he’s our son. He couldn’t grow up crooked.” Duan Tingxuan stroke his wife’s long hair, a warm smile on his face. “If you’re tired, just sleep. I’ll call you when the evening dinner is ready.”

“En,” Su Nuan Nuan nodded as she closed her eyes. However, her mouth continued to move as she said, “Concubine Jiang came today. I’m sure you saw her. What you might not have seen is how haggard Concubine Jing had become, running about all over the place and making sure things are working perfectly. I was just thinking, though Concubine Jiang might be at fault in the past and caused the death of someone, she had clearly repented. Though she might have done it to preserve her own life and her son. She… she still inevitably saved me and Zheng’er.

After all, there is no telling what people who harboured evil intentions might have done since then just to harm me? Therefore… I was just thinking, now that Chuan’er is growing up, he would be spending more time at school. He must also spend more time studying when he comes home, and would not be able to spend time with her even in the evenings. How about we let Concubine Jiang leave the Buddhist Hall every three to five days to assist Concubine Jing in her work? She could always go back anytime to the Buddhist Hall to pray or even go there in the afternoons to keep up with her cultivation. That way, she won’t feel that life is too hard to endure, what do you think?”

“Very well, you decide. I did say that I will watch her behaviour. If you believe that she had really regretted her behaviour and will never cause harm again, it’s fine to let her exit the Buddhist Hall every few days.” Duan Tingxuan said mildly as he played with a lock of his wife’s hair.

“That should be the way,” Su Nuan Nuan settled comfortably against her husband’s arms and smiled. “Ever since Xu Ran Yun died and Xue Zhi Lan went crazy, the senior madams really thought that there was something wrong with the main family’s Fengshui [1]. Madam Min is a clever one and knew the true source of the conflict. Though she had been determined to have a distant niece come in as a concubine, she never said a single word about it after Xu Ran Yun’s death. How convenient for second sister-in-law.

Here I was, ready for some branch family drama, but it all just fizzled out too quickly. Whatever. What annoyed me more is that witch even had the cheek to run over here and happily thanked me for helping her. She said something about how the bloody conflict within the main family had finally opened Madam Min’s eyes to the potential tragedy of a family with too many women and decided not to bring the main family curse into the branch family. You tell me, what’s the difference between this and stabbing me in the face?”

Duan Tingxuan laughed, “You, ah. Your sharp tongue hides the heart of tofu. Though your lips complained about second sister-in-law, you’re actually secretly happy. Now that second brother and his wife are no longer interested in improving their social status, they have become quite adorable now. You’re also hoping that they would have a good life together, am I right?”

“Nonsense, whoever said that?” Su Nuan Nuan’s eyes flashed open and she shook her fist in the air saying, “Who said I hid a heart of tofu with a razor tongue? Humph! I was just saying things casually. No matter what, it’s time to show those uppity branch house people the might of our main branch. Though of your secondary wives, one had died and the other gone crazy, you still at least have Concubine Jiang and Concubine Jing. They might still steal you away from me during our disharmonious time, proving my virtuousness to the world.”

“Wu! You’re sure you would remain virtuous and patient if they make a move? Are you sure you won’t open your mouth and let out a Hedong Lion’s Roar?”

“Duan Tingxuan, how dare you think so little of me?”

Shameful anger suffused the First Madam and she suddenly stood up, she turned around and began to attack her husband. She only stopped when a voice called from the door, she stopped and asked, “What is it?”

From the curtained doorway, Shi Yurou’s personal maid, Gui Zhi, came in. The maid smiled and said, “First Madam, our Madam was feeling a little poorly today after the ceremony at the North Court. A physician was invited to have a look at her, and it turns out to be happy news. The Branch Lady is now expecting and Madam had specially asked this one to convey the happy news over to you first.”

Su Nuan Nuan was taken aback for a moment. However, she soon gathered herself and nodded back, “Not bad, not bad, this is very good, ah. And your Madam is too much. What’s the use of hurrying over to tell me? Such good news should be reported to the Old Madam first, you know? Go and make your report there now.”

Beaming, Gui Zhi bobbed another greeting before running off. The couple looked into each other’s eyes and beamed suddenly. Su Nuan Nuan flopped backwards on to the bed, her head landing on her husband’s lap. “Not bad, this is really not bad. The troubles at the second branch should stop now. This is really good, ah.”

“We’ll have more good days to come, we should enjoy them slowly.” the little marquis smiled as he leaned forward to gently kiss Su Nuan Nuan’s forehead.

“I shall be there with you.”

 

[Gumihou: You know who I missed? Zhao Cai! Where are you, nyaa?]

[1] Fengshui – Fortunes

 

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