Chapter 35: You Do The Crime, You Do The Time

 

Vun: That would certainly be an interesting turn of things!

Crystal Aris: Profound words, and let’s hope things pick up a bit more before they slow down in the middle of August.

Who Cares: It certainly looks like it!

Moto: The stomach should never be underestimated.

Rosas: so speechless…

Queue: Thanks, I’m waiting for it too!

Cass: It sure seems like it.

Riz Yun: I have a feeling grandma saw through that grandson of hers

Anonymous: Thank you!

Kirindas: *kisses*!

 

This Si Ping had followed his master into the house. He was already seventeen, and was really not supposed to enter the inner court. However, who ask his master to bring him in as a coolie? And thus, he was brought in. However, this lowly manservant knew the old madam was a stickler for rules, and made sure to keep his head down, not daring to draw attention to his existence.

When he heard the master’s words, he quietly rolled his eyes. Master, you really know how to stick gold on first madam’s face[1], restless sort? Using mouse traps to form a Single Snake Battle Formation against you is mere restlessness?

You’ve already been kicked out, literally, from that place how many times and you think that mere cloth would calm her nerves?

Master, when have you become so naive?

Duan Tingxuan did not have the slightest idea what the manservant beside him was thinking. The two hundred bolts of cloth sent by the empress were all good things. He saw that this bolt was good, and that bolt was not bad, by the time he had finished, there was about forty bolts of cloth by his side and it still felt inadequate.

He was about to shift through the remaining bolts of cloth again when he heard the old madam said faintly, “My dear grandson, you still want to more? Instead of tiring yourself this way, why don’t you just take everything to Mei Yue Lou and save your eyesight?

Duan Tingxuan was a little shocked. He turned to look at the old madam, and said cautiously, “Grandmother, are you being sincere…or sarcastic?”

“Let’s say I’m being sincere, do you really plan to clean me out?” Old Madam Fang smacked the heatable kang[2] bed. “Disgraceful thing, wasted my love on you. I still haven’t gotten a single bolt of cloth yet, and you wish to carry off the whole lot? Do you plan to dress the rats at Mei Yue Lou too? Pei! You little white eyed wolf[3]!”

When Duan Tingxuan guiltily glanced to the stack next to him, he was taken aback by the little mountain it made. Oh, oops, it looked like he really had over did things just a bit. There was nothing he could say. He felt his face grew hot, and could only remorsefully crept up to the old madam, and declared. “Grandmother, your grandson is also an oppressed victim, ah. Nuan Nuan’s attitude recently became more aggressive, do you think it’s easy to wrest those snacks out of her hands for the sake of filial piety? Today, for the sake of a a few bolts of cloth, I have been labelled a white eyed wolf? Your grandson will surely die from injustice. Especially when I have not touched a single piece of cloth with patterns that suit grandmother most.”

“Hmph! So you also expect me to be grateful?” Madam Fang gave her grandson a cold smile and pointed a finger at his forehead. “You think I don’t know? Patterns that suit this old lady won’t suit young Nuan Nuan. Still want to deceive me? Want to give empty platitudes? Unacceptable!”

“Grandmother, ignorance is bliss, ah.” The prince was in earnest as he informed his grandmother. “People who are too smart have no friends…”

Without waiting for him to finish, the old madam cut in, “Fine, fine, speak less of these nonsense. You’ve been very diligent with me, why aren’t you devoting more of your brain to bring Nuan Nuan back to the inner court? Sure you are not thinking of letting those three stay cold and hungry at that desolated Mei Yue Lou?”

“Cold and hungry? Them? Grandmother, just where did these words come from? They are living a a carefree life there. Tch! Drinking Osmanthus honey with tiny snacks. Meat and vegetable dishes of all kinds, even I can’t live as luxuriously as them!”

Duan Tingxuan wailed out, his fists raised up as though he was about to strike heaven’s door. Beside him, the old madam said slowly, “So, you don’t plan to bring them back?”

“How can this be?” Duan Tingxuan inadvertently protested, and sighed. “Grandmother, this grandson of yours have long since decided to bring them back. I’ve already spoken to Nuan Nuan about this twice. The first time, she throw me out with a broom. The second time was worse. Perhaps it was my own inattention, but she was cutting meat when I suggested it and that female tiger chased me out of her kitchen and into the garden with her cleaver. Anyway, it’s difficult, ah. This matter is too difficult, I’m still racking my brains over it.”

“That Nuan Nuan girl never did have a good character, but there was never any indication that she would become this bad. How did she become like this?” Old Madam Fang frowned. Since she had eaten a lot of Su Nuan Nuan’s snacks, she tend to view this granddaughter-in-law of hers quite positively, however, when it came to the matter of her grandson being chased around with a cleaver, this was still somewhat unacceptable.

Duan Tingxuan gave a bitter smile. “It’s fine, I created this mess, it is right that I should suffer for it.” He suddenly laughed lightly, “Grandmother, though Nuan Nuan tends to quarrel and exchange blows with me, yet I still felt that this version of her is much more fun.”

“Is your skin made of cheap leather[4]?” Old Madam Fang gave him a glare. “In the past, in order to gain your favour, Nuan Nuan had put in painstaking effort which you have largely ignored. Now she no longer wants you, you fall all over yourself for her?”

Duan Tingxuan shrugged. “It’s not like I’m really a masochist. I just felt that the Nuan Nuan now is completely different from the Nuan Nuan in the past. The Nuan Nuan in the past, before her father’s incident, never dared to raise her voice with me, let alone struck me, but she was proud, excessive and bossy, much too poisonous and scheming for my taste. However, right now though she never guard her tongue around me, she has a benevolent heart. I just like this contrary part of her.”

“In the end, you’re a masochist.” Old Madam Fang snorted coldly. She waved her hand. “Fine, fine, I’d rather you don’t show this pointless side of you to me. Go and bring these cloth over to Mei Yue Lou, perhaps Nuan Nuan will feel touched and soften towards you a little. Really, if you’ve known earlier, none of these nonsense would have happened. I’ve already mentioned to you, with your parents like this, you should bend a little, care about that woman a bit more. In the end you stubbornly kicked her into Mei Yue Lou. Now here you are cracking your brains trying to get her back. A perfect example of ‘One who have sinned must pay’.”

“This one will do as grandmother instructed. Just wait for my good news. Though the future looks bleak, but is your grandson one who gives up easily? No matter how treacherous this path, I shall definitely gain victory in the end.”

This Duan Tingxuan was just bragging. He stood up and commanded Si Ping along with a few more maids to carry out the bolts of cloth. He was about to leave when he heard a muttered, “You should be able to barter for some good stuff with these cloth, ba? Inform Nuan Nuan that Fuling crackers[5] from last time is certainly interesting, I wish to taste it again. Have her send some to me.”

“Aiyo, grandmother certainly knows how to chose. Those Fuling crackers are quite tricky to make.” Duan Tingxuan stuck out his thumb, and heard Old Lady Fang snorted. “Enough, this old lady likes it, what’s wrong with having her show some filial piety to me? Also, that Mei Yue Lou is not a prison, why do they never come out? You tell that girl, grandmother wishes to speak with her. When she is free tell her come by. Those days when the rest of the palace people hated her, this old lady still treated her well.”

“No problem, I will certainly tell her.” Duan Tingxuan could hear the unspoken message, this old madam planned to help him out, how could he not agree? Though that woman refused to give him face, but she actually has a heart of gold, with old madam out to campaign for him, his success rate was sure to rise.

It wasn’t until Duan Tingxuan was out of sight that Old Lady Fang put away her smile. Next to her, Qiu Ling quipped, “Ever since the lord brought those dishes over from Mei Yue Lou, it sure has become lively over here.”

 

 

[1] Stick gold on someone’s face – To attribute good characteristics to a person where there was none.

[2] Kang Bed – Heatable brick bed

[3] White Eyed Wolf – Ungrateful person, ingrate

[4] Cheap Leather Skin – Unafraid of pain, mainly derogatory, but could also be a friendly joke. Masochistic type of meaning.

[5] Fuling Crackers

https://web.archive.org/web/20090109054724/http://www.cultural-china.com/chinaWH/html/en/8Kaleidoscope2736.html

 

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Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com

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