Chapter 16: Losing Face
Translated by Prosperousfood dot com
Edited by Gumihou
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“Oh, hush your crow’s beak. I, your mistress, is in extremely good condition.” Su Nuan Nuan smacked Xiang Yun heavily on the shoulder once. Then, she carefully put away her precious list before making her way out in a leisurely fashion. As soon as she stepped out onto the sun deck, she saw a bunch of colourfully dressed ladies milling about the courtyard entrance.
A prick of pain stung her heart when her gaze fell upon those beans sunning just inside the main entrance. She shook her head and muttered to herself, “What a waste, those were prepared for that Duan Tingxuan. Well, I guess these people could just sacrifice themselves for that lucky good for nothing.”
Xiang Yun and Hong Lian who had been standing just behind their mistress went pale. It all finally became clear. Hong Lian looked at her mistress with disbelief in her eyes, her mouth flapped twice but no words appear. Her current mistress was someone who dared to aim kicks at the heir of the house, so, how could Madam Yun even be registered as anything beyond mere annoyance?
The sun deck was actually quite prominent, and with the three women standing there, there was no way Xu Ran Yun could even pretend to not see them there. She frowned, anger and hatred brimming in her chest. One of the older maids, lacking common sense, poured oil on the fire of anger by saying, “This first madam is just too impolite, to think that she still dares to swagger about like that. Does she expect Madam Yun to pay respect to an abandoned wife?”
Madam Yun flashed her a hateful glare. Just where did this disgraceful old maid come from? She might as well have stabbed her own mistress with these words. Who doesn’t know that this Su Meng Nuan was an abandoned wife? However, no matter how isolated or disgraced she seemed to be, the lord still haven’t signed the divorce papers. Therefore, she was still the first madam, if only in name.
The older maid finally felt those piercing eyes on her back and knew that her attempt at flattery had fallen flat, she clutched her neck, not daring to say anything else. At this point, Feng Xian looked at the wide open front door and said in a low voice, “Missy, even though the door is wide open, we should still observe all the social manners. Should this one go and beg for an audience?”
Xu Ran Yun was really angry now, feeling as though her maid was deliberately making fun of her and stabbing her in the heart. If she had to beg an audience with an abandoned woman, isn’t it just glorifying that other woman’s position?
With a sneer she said, “How many years have Mei Yue Lou been abandoned? Even the front doors are broken down, what’s the point of begging an audience? Since the door opened for anyone that means we too have an open invitation. Let’s just go in.” the words were hardly out of her mouth and she was striding ahead. She glided past the arching gateway with her head held high.
On the sun deck, Su Nuan Nuan covered her eyes with her hands and whispered, “I have a premonition that a grand spectacle will happen in front of me soon. However, that sight is so awe inspiring that I can’t quite bring myself to look.”
At these words, Hong Lian and Xiang Yun could not stop themselves from casting disapproving looks at her: Could not bring yourself to look? If you really can’t bring yourself to look, then what’s that gap between your fingers? You’re clearly peeking. To think that their mistress would have the cheek to do such a shameless thing, she really was an outlandish weirdo.
The next thing they knew, a sudden high pitch shriek pierced the air. Hong Lian and Xiang Yun looked blankly down at entrance. Madam Yun, the lady who liked to put on airs and displayed herself as a graceful being, was now screeching and flailing her arms about. It was like seeing a sudden storm of colourful dragon flies flapping in a circle Unfortunately, all that flapping and flailing did her no good, and Madam Yun eventually fell flat on her face into their yard.
The show, however, was far from over. There was no way that Madam Yun was going to just stay down when struck, and as they watched, she struggled to get up, only to tragically kiss the ground again. And again.
Seeing such a beautiful but vicious woman falling flat on her face again and again was like something out of a dreadful, wish fulfilment play. Hong Lian and Xiang Yun stared with open mouths at this incredible performance. They were so absorbed in it that neither could remember that it was their duty to rush over and help out a downed mistress.
“This is just too amazing… it’s just so amazing that I dare not watch, ah.” Xiang Yun muttered under her breath, she sounded almost like a sleep walker..
Before their wide front courtyard, Xu Ran Yun was not the only person losing her face. The older maids had rushed forward bravely to rescue their mistress, disregarding their own safety. There was no need to speak about what happened next, facing a courtyard full of beans that would release oil when stepped on, aside from screaming, flailing about, and face planting into the ground, what other result could there be?
The maids finally managed, with great difficulty, to drag Xu Ran Yun away from the bean covered floor to the relative safety of the entrance. The courtyard full of beans did not escape unscathed either, it looked like a complete mess now.
Xu Ran Yun was practically gasping with anger, she never thought that she would suffer so much when she lead her entourage in. To think that she would literally step into an actual ‘trap’, not a metaphorical trap but an actual honest to heaven trap.
Her lips trembled with anger, but no words came out. It was then she heard an extremely heartbroken voice wailed:
“Tragedy! Horrible, awful tragedy! Tsk, tsk, how should I put it? All was well and good, but now all everything had descended into terrible tragedy.”
Xu Ran Yun raised her head, she knew this voice only too well. Her eyes snapped like vipers at this hypocritical woman, her lips opened and closed a few times, before snarling, “So you know what horrible thing you’ve done? Who was the one responsible for…”
She had not finished her words when Su Nuan Nuan suddenly crouched down. Her hands hovered anxiously over her crushed beans. She sobbed, “My beans, ah. Wretched! Wretched! All were lying here, innocently sunning themselves, when, when… ah, who could be so cruel? This is my half year’s allowance of food, ah. They are now all gone, destroyed…”
Xu Ran Yun suddenly felt it difficult to draw breath. It was like nine springs of hatred had suddenly welled up inside her. The maids around her also looked like they had seen a ghost as they stared at the bitterly crying Su Nuan Nuan, they were sorely tempted to shout: Your mother, surely even blackmailers are not as shameless as this? Do you even have five catties (2.5 kg) of beans here? You dare to say this this is half a year’s worth of food? Do you expect us to believe you only have a couple beans per meal? God in heaven, why haven’t you starved to death yet?
Hong Lian and Xiang Yun had been with Su Nuan Nuan all day and night for quite some time now, however, they would never have guessed that her face would be as impenetrable as steel walls. They were just as shocked as Xu Ran Yun. Finally, Hong Lian couldn’t take it any more and coughed delicately into her hand to remind her mistress that it was time to wind up her little performance.
Fortunately, Su Nuan Nuan took the hint. At that little cough, her bitter tears suddenly cut off. She rose slowly to her full height, dusted her hands and looked at Xu Ran Yun. In a rather brusque manner, she asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I just recalled that elder sister have been at Mei Yue Lou for almost half a year now.” Xu Ran Yun automatically recited her prepared speech “Since I had no idea how you’ve been faring I’ve decided to pay you a visit. As expected, you’re indeed as lively as before, to think that even a house arrest at Mei Yue Lou was not enough to finish you off. As the younger sister, I must really prostrate myself at your greatness.”
Xu Ran Yun was shrewd by nature, and knew that she had already suffered a huge loss. She was also sharp enough to realize that further argument would merely lose her face, therefore she forcefully pressed down her anger, and switched to provocative speech instead. She knew this elder sister of hers very well. As long as she could provoke that temper of hers, Xu Ran Yun would be able to just sit back and and watch the sparks fly. This would be a most suitable revenge for the humiliation just now.
Xu Ran Yun had not miscalculated, however, no matter how cunning or shrewd she was, there was no way she could know that Su Nuan Nuan was now a completely different person. Literally.
For Su Nuan Nuan, unless her food supply was threatened, rarely lose her temper. So what if she didn’t manage to get the last word in, so what? With a faint smile, she said, “Little sister have already seen how I am, you may admire me or hate me, but as you’ve already seen me. Is it not time for you to leave?”
Xu Ran Yun was stunned, her eyes widened. She sized up the leisurely smiling Su Nuan Nuan as though she could not recognise her: Just what was going on? Why did she not jump up in anger? Something was not right, ah, just what went wrong?
While her mind whirled with calculations, her face remained calm. She looked at the beans on the floor with indifference and said with a sneer, “Elder sister, these beans on the floor, they’re here to make me look bad, aren’t they? Why? Are you happy now that you’ve made fun of me? Now you want to chase me away, is it to clear away the evidence? Do you think you can just get rid of evidence like that?”
Su Nuan Nuan sighed, and shook her head a few times. She gave Xu Ran Yun a sympathetic look, “I can understand your desire to become the main character, but, I must say, you’ve overrated yourself. Do you really think that I’d really use 2 catty of beans to make fun of you? To be honest, I’m not that wasteful.”
“These beans have been prepared for a certain disgusting little marquis. Who ask you to rush over here and ruin my perfectly good trap? Now I’ve lost a perfectly good opportunity to humiliate that creep AND wasted two catty of beans. Oh, my beans, ah. Just thinking about it hurts my chest. These are actually high quality soy beans, ah…”
The more Su Nuan Nuan spoke, the more upset this foodie became. The smile on her face slid off, a mourning expression hung upon her mouth. She sobbed at Xiang Yun, “These beans have already been stepped on, they can no longer be use. Just, just sweep them up and feed the chickens. Only feed the hens mind you, don’t let the rooster eat any, only the hens. We can at least get a few eggs from the hens, feeding rooster will get us nothing.”
To be honest, these words were really insulting. Where was Madam Yun suppose to put her face? The beans stepped on by Madam Yun could only be fed to the chickens? Why is there no mention how these beans nearly cracked her head open? Madam Yun actually slipped and fallen to the ground you know, all that actually happened, ah.
However, neither the old maids nor Xu Ran Yun could bring themselves to worry about this point. They were completely shocked by Su Nuan Nuan’s words: What certain disgusting little marquis? Were these beans really prepared for the lord? Heavens, was she planning to flip heaven and earth? Is there anyone in this mansion who dares to challenge the heir of the house? Only Madam Min, the woman loved my the marquis, the woman who hated elder madam and the lord heir to the bones. Even then, she only dared to move in the shadows against him, ah.
It took quite some time for the shaken Xu Ran Yun and her maids to return to the conscious world. Dropping her veneer of elegance, Xu Ran Yun voice was shrill as she demanded, “Su Meng Nuan, you dare? Say it again, I dare you! Just who are you planning to trap?”
“Trap Duan Tingxuan, ah. Do I really need guts to say this? Even if he’s standing here in front of me, I’ll just tell it to his face. This bean trap is created just for him.” Su Nuan Nuan shrugged, not in the least bit concern.
Su Nuan Nuan just ignored Xu Ran Yun and company, whose collective faces was so unpleasant that it looked like they had just been fed a large pile of manure. She turned to call Xiang Yun to bring the broom over to sweep up the beans, after which she turned her back to Xu Ran Yun, and never turned back to look at the little crowd gathered at the entrance. Clearly, she never put the other wife in her eyes.