Chapter 18: The Worst Result
Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com
As the woman spoke, she reached out to grab Xiang Yun, when someone suddenly appeared between them. It was the first madam. She was just standing there expressionlessly, it was as though she had just appeared out of thin air.
Well, so what if she had appeared?
This elder maid was not afraid of some has-been mistress who had lost power, only, well, it was one thing to not be afraid of someone without any social power, but quite another when that person was holding a really sharp cleaver in each hand!
Su Nuan Nuan held both cleavers up as she stared expressionlessly at this super efficient servant. According to the laws of wuxia novels, when it came to battles, one’s posture and bearing were the deciding factors when it came to a fight. In fact, the character with the most expressionless face tended to be the most powerful, and thus, Su Nuan Nuan decided to utilize this wuxia common sense to intimidate her enemy.
It seemed to work as the maid actually cringed at the sight of this expressionless face. The maid withdrew her hand and yelped “F-first Madam, you…what are you trying to do?”
Su Nuan Nuan hefted her knives, and smiled coldly at the maid. She said vaguely. “You sure have fast hands, and faster reflexes too. How lucky, otherwise your hands would have been cut off by me. I might not eat human meat, but we have a pair of pigs in our backyard. I heard that pigs will eat anything, we’ve been feeding them nothing but chaff and wild herbs. If I reward them with a pair of hands, I do believe they will be really happy.”
That expressionless face, that awful a gruesome smile, and those really creepy words said in that whispery voice finally collapsed the spirit of the three servants who had led the charge. Crying and wailing for their ancestors, they ran back for safety, only to slipped on the beans and smashed their faces against the floor.
Born and raised in a large house, it could be said that Xu Ran Yun was blessed with the unique skills and instincts to fight and survive in an inner court environment. However, when faced against ‘actual strength’, all the skills and tricks in the world can’t win against true power. Take now for example, this shameless first madam who could even take on the role of a vengeful ghost and threaten people with knives. This was not someone Xu Ran Yun could win against.
Seeing this group of people flee with tails between their legs, covered in the dust of defeat, Xiang Yun gave a loud cheer and grabbed Su Nuan Nuan by the arm saying. “Missy, you are too amazing. Hahaha, this servant has never seen Madam Yun in such a terrible state. She can’t even do anything against you, this is just too great!”
The little maid was so happy that she forgot her place. It was only after Hong Lian glared at her, that she finally realized she had overstepped herself by hugging Su Nuan Nuan’s arm in such a familiar way. Instead of letting go, she stuck out her tongue with a giggle, “I’m just too happy, elder sister Hong Lian. You should be happy too, and hug Missy’s other arm in celebration. How many times have you suffered each time we go begging for things from Madam Yun? Just how much trouble has she given you? This counts as retribution for all our pains.”
Hong Lian heaved another sigh, though she too felt happy at their little victory. She understood Madam Yun’s pride and resources, there was no way that woman would let this go without retribution. This was the main reason that she could not bring herself to celebrate so early.
She glared at Xiang Yun and said through gritted teeth. “You are too simple minded, today we have offended Madam Yun to death, can you imagine what life will be like in the future? Do you think, just because the master visited us a couple of times he’ll tolerate our wild antics?”
Xiang Yun’s little face turned white. However, before anyone could said anything else, Su Nuan Nuan’s loud voice interrupted. “What? You consider this running wild? Hong Lian, which eye of yours saw us running wild? Those people came into our territory with their noses sticking into the air, proud as peacocks and slipped on our bean traps.”
“This is called suffering from your own stupidity and has nothing with us. At worst you may call this justice, just how did it turned into running wild? Heh heh, you definitely have not yet seen the sight of I, your first madam, when she runs wild.”
At this point, even Hong Lian turned white. She anxiously grabbed hold of Su Nuan Nuan’s free arm and said. “My dear Missy, although what you said makes sense, the elder master and elder madam, perhaps even the master won’t see it that way. This Madam Yun has great talent when it came to making mountains out of mole hills, once done, all she had to do is cry pitifully in front of the master and we’d suffer for it.”
“Let’s say we all suffer, what’s the worst thing that could happen?” seeing Hong Lian so earnest, Su Nuan Nuan felt that perhaps she should try to take things seriously and was curious at what her maid would say.
“The worst thing?” a shudder went through Hong Lian’s body and she whispered. “The…the master could divorce you, and kick us out of the mansion. We’ll be homeless, without shelter or protection from anyone.”
As she spoke, she thought about the three of them wondering the streets like lost souls, starving and begging for scraps. Hong Lian’s lips turned white at the thought. By her side, Xiang Yun pressed her lips together, trying not to cry. Finally, she heard Su Nuan Nuan’s suspicious voice saying. “So…he’ll divorce me and…drive me out, that’s it?”
“Missy, you don’t think this is bad?” Hong Lian’s tearful eyes gazed at her recklessly bold mistress and felt her heart crumbled.
“So what? Why are the two of you so frightened?” Su Nuan Nuan breathed a sigh of relief, clapped her hands and laughed. “If that Duan Tingxuan wants to divorce me, let him come. I’ve long tire of seeing his shameless greedy face each time he came here to snatch our food.”
Having said this, she gave those dumbfounded maids a glance, and shook her head. “Looking at your pitiful expressions, you really think its impossible to survive without a man in this world? How disgusting, I, your mistress, really felt that you two are really despicable.”
“Missy, if we’re really kicked out, how do we survive, ah?” Xiang Yun weakly asked. She’s fine being despicable, as long as there’s hope to stay alive, she’s fine being despised by her mistress, in fact, she’ll be really happy.
“How indeed, aren’t I, your mistress, is blessed with all kinds of culinary secrets? I have many more tricks up my sleeves. When the time comes, I shall find work with a big and reputable restaurant. Once I made enough money as a chef we can even open a small independent eatery. Also, the two of you are good at sewing and embroidery so you can find sewing work. You listen to me, once we leave this mansion, we will not only survive, but we will live a comfortable life together.”
Actually, it was nearly impossible for three powerless women to live a comfortable once they left the mansion grounds. They would be duckweeds floating precariously by the beach, where an errant wave would be enough to destroy their lives. Otherwise, Su Nuan Nuan would not even lower herself to the ‘humiliation’ of letting Duan Tingxuan carry off her food while quietly living at the Mei Yue Lou. However, things weren’t as bad as the maids imagined. Death won’t be a certainty once they left the doors of this mansion. At worst, it’s just another obstacle she would have to overcome in order to survive in this world.
As expected, after hearing her explanation, Hong Lian and Xiang Yun became less anxious. Once back in the house, Su Nuan Nuan didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the sight of the ingredients lists. She narrowed her eyes and muttered to herself. “How annoying, if I had known earlier, I wouldn’t have put in so much effort into this list. Duan Tingxuan, what are you planning to do next?”
Su Nuan Nuan was a genuine foodie. For the sake of good food there are many things that a foodie would bite their lip and suffer for. However, even a foodie has their bottom line. For Su Nuan Nuan, her bottom line was dignity. No matter how delicious the food, she would never kneel down and lick food off the floor.
Xu Ran Yun’s aggressive frontal attack against this nominal first wife, coming over with her entourage to criticize Su Nuan Nuan, well, there was no way she was going to take it lying down This was the real reason why Su Nuan Nuan reacted the way she did, even with the threat of leaving the mansion, she refused to swallow this insult.
Mistress and servants, spent most of the day talking about what they should do once they were kicked out, which restaurant they should try to go to, the amount of money needed to set up a small eatery, the type of customers they would meet as well as the type of food they would serve in this little eatery.
Hong Lian and Xiang Yun even started rummaging through the chests and cupboards, packing up Su Nuan Nuan’s few accessories and clothing. Once they see the divorce papers, they could just leg it quickly with their belongings so that these snobbish people would not be able to say that the Mei Yue Lou people dragged their feet when it came to leaving the mansion.
However, dusk came but still no sight of the divorce papers.
They waited until it was time to think about lunch, which still had to be made. Su Nuan Nuan pushed up her sleeves and entered the kitchen. She also took the opportunity to go through the entire kitchen for whatever scraps of ingredient left over. She would not even let a speck of rice go to waste in this place.
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Evening came, and along with it Duan Tingxuan. He came through the mansion’s front entrance with two wild ducks in hand. The corner of his lips hooked up in a smile, it was unknown what beautiful thoughts were going through his head.
“Master, you’re back.” The doorkeeper immediately rushed up to greet him. Seeing the ducks, he immediately smiled, “This one did not hear of master’s plans to go hunting, where did these came from?”
“I was at the Crown Prince’s residence this afternoon. It just so happened that someone had sent over a few cages of wild ducks to him, so I picked up two.” Duan Tingxuan’s casual tone revealed the iron-forged friendship between him and the crown prince.
As he spoke, he made his way down the small road that lead to Mei Yue Lou. He was already sick of the mansion’s duck soup. If he were to present these lively wild ducks to Su Nuan Nuan, who knows what kinds of delicacies she could create?
A voice from the entrance shook Duan Tingxuan from his beautiful daydreams, and he turned to glance at the gate. The gatekeeper rushed over with smiles firmly in place. “Master, this road…it doesn’t actually lead to the inner court.”
“Where this master goes, does he need to give a servant like you an explanation?” Duan Tingxuan snorted. The gatekeeper immediately threw himself to the ground, and said carefully, “Master is wise, how could this worthless one dare to question master’s movements. Only, Madam Yun had left instructions with this worthless one to respectfully invite master to Madam Yun’s place for a while. Madam Yun hints that she has some very important news to impart.”
Just what was Ran Yun trying to do?
Duan Tingxuan cursed silently, after some thought he handed the wild ducks over to Si Ping, with whispered instructions. “Send these to Mei Yue Lou, get first madam to prepare them, I will head over there for dinner later. Oh, and tell her anything is fine, but no duck soup.”
Once Si Ping said yes, a pair of quacking ducks were thrown into his arms. By the time he recovered his balance, Duan Tingxuan was already making his way towards Xu Ran Yun’s residence. As soon as he entered, he saw two of his four-year old sons at play, seeing him, both rushed over to him.
Although, Duan Tingxuan was too lusty as a husband and tended to spread his love around too much, as a father he was actually not bad. One can’t ignore his good points and focus too much on his bad points.
Grabbing one son in each arm, he smiled at Duan Mao Chuan, “Is your mother here?” Duan Mao Chuan was the son of Concubine Jiang. Concubine Jiang came as part of Xu Ran Yun’s dowry. In truth, Su Nuan Nuan’s vicious bossiness from before was not without reason. No wife would be happy to see her husband marry again, certainly not two at once.
The hurt she had suffered must have been too overwhelming, especially when the concubine got pregnant after one night of activity while she was still childless after five years. Who would be able to remain at peace after that?
Naturally not everyone would consider murder as a way to express her dissatisfaction. On top of that, it was against two lives, both mother and child. This was not right. However, justice was served even in the shadows, did not this vicious, poisonous woman died from her hunger strike?
Not only that, her body was taken over by a gluttonous foodie, this kind of miserable end was definitely fitting retribution.