Chapter 46: Cannot Avoid
Translated by Gumihou
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While they were thinking about this, they all walked out together and saw a young girl dressed as a maid. The moment she saw Su Nuan Nuan, the girl bobbed in greeting. Beside her, Hong Lian called out in surprised and ran down the steps to meet her, “Elder sister Qiu Ling, why have you come? Is there something the matter with old madam?”
Qiu Ling smiled, “Old madam was feeling a little bored and asked me to invite first madam to play some mahjong to pass the time. Oh, and that if there are any snacks here, no matter what kind, please bring a few trays over. We have just gotten some fresh seafood today, and since old madam loves seafood she complains that the kitchen staffs’ skills are lacking and kindly asked if first madam would go over and give them a few pointers.”
Su Nuan Nuan’s face actually turned 囧囧, looks like this Qiu Ling’s purpose was to investigate her kitchen. She could not resist asking. “Old madam loves snacks and seafood, we also heard from the Lord that she loves to eat meat. Ahem, very well, I shall not ask what old madam likes, what I really want to know is this. Is there anything that old madam doesn’t like?”
Hong Lian and Xiang Yun spoke up at the same time, both looking crossly at Su Nuan Nuan. This showed just how much both of them valued that venerable old lady in their hearts. Su Nuan Nuan touched her nose and knew that she had acted too arrogantly. “Fine, fine, it’s just a little joke, can’t I make jokes now? Since old madams likes to eat, then I shall prepare things for her to eat. Though my reputation is bad, I still know the meaning of filial piety.”
Qiu Ling’s face, which had turned red with embarrassment and anger at Su Nuan Nuan’s words slowly returned to its normal colour. She was slightly appeased by the follow up words, added to Nuan Nuan’s embarrassed face, even this dignified, highly placed maid could not restrain a laugh from escaping. She quickly reined in her expression and said. “It’s fine as long as madam understands. Our old madam had requested many times for the master to invite madam over. Though we believed that the master probably only thoughts of eating whenever he sets foot into this place and have to pass on the invitation. Therefore, old madam had no choice but to send this maid over to invite first madam to come over.”
Cannot avoid it any more.
Su Nuan Nuan could only lament in her heart: Having one glutton, no matter how large its appetite, sniffing around was nothing, but to have an old glutton appear now? Old madam, ah, someone who occupied such a noble and dignified social standing, please show some dignity. Is it really fine for you to show such a gluttonous side in public? Aren’t you afraid of being made fun of? Is this An Ping mansion filled with foodies or nobilities? Furthermore, though I have yet to set foot in your place, I have always sent you something every few days to show my filial piety, ah.
Though she was really unwilling, she had no choice but to enter her room and change clothes. Hong Lian rushed over to attend to her clothes, hair and accessories. While she was thus occupied, Qiu Ling smiled at Xiang Yun. “When the master informed old madam and myself that first madam was no longer as extreme as before, neither of us could quite believe it. However, now that I’ve come here, I could believe Master’s words. First madam really is different now.”
Xiang Yun also smiled. “Isn’t it? Ever since Missy returned from the brink of death she is much easier to live with, and less inclined to brood. The Missy now is very good, elder sister have just seen her for a few minutes, but wait until you get to know her a bit more, you’ll see even more of her good points. Didn’t you see how elder sister Hong Lian and I just glared at her just now? The Missy now is really too amiable.”
Qiu Ling nodded, but soon stated. “It’s good that she’s amiable, but you must never treat other masters like that, ever. It’s not simple living in this large mansion, though a benevolent first madam is a good thing, its possible that she may be a little naive. It’s best that you all treat this as a weak point.”
The advice may seemed a little casual, and indeed Qiu Ling did not think too much of it. Her main focus was on food. Just what kind of food would first madam bring out? Should be snacks, ba. As for Xiang Yun, she took the other maid’s words at face value and felt very moved by their concern. “Elder sister is right, please be at ease, our Missy will know what is appropriate.”
When Qiu Ling heard this, she felt understood and did not bother to go on a long winded lecture. In a short while, Su Nuan Nuan came out and Qiu Ling’s eyes brightened to see her stroll out in a long cheong sam in duck egg green brocade, underneath that was a pleated dress as white as ivory, her dark hair was put up in a cloud bun, decorated with only two pearl hairpins. Light powder covered her face, emphasizing her sweeping eyebrows. The clear and attractive elegance was matchless, compared to her previous rich madam style of thick make-up, layers of brocade and a head stuck full of hairpins, it was as though their first madam now and before were completely different people.
“Madam, your make up, isn’t it a little plain?”
Qiu Ling could not suppress her curiosity asked. Su Nuan Nuan laughed. “People who already died once before knows what’s really important in life. Those heavy red and purple garments are just too hot and stuffy, how could they be compared with simple dresses like this? As for hairpins, hehe, I’ve already been banished to this Mei Yue Lou, how many accessories do you think I have? Even if I still have them, I won’t stick them all on my head, my neck might collapse at the weight, what’s the fun in that? I can only laugh at the past me who could not understand these simple logic and wasted so many years of my life. Ah, thinking about it still makes me regretful, ne.”
As they chatted, the group strolled to the front gate when Su Nuan Nuan stopped. She suddenly turned and asked Qiu Ling, “By the way, what is our lord doing this time of the day?”
Qiu Ling was stunned, before saying hesitantly. “He should be at the government office, ba?”
“So he won’t be coming back to the mansion, right?” Su Nuan Nuan persisted, and saw Qui Ling nodded. “Naturally? Our master is very busy, unless there is a crisis at home how could he spent his days hiding in the mansion? Madam should know this, ah.”
“Right, right, right, I know, I just want to make sure.” Su Nuan Nuan nodded quickly and turned to Hong Lian. “All right, there’s no need to lock the door.”
Qiu Ling felt like something terrible and forbidden just just flashed past her. What was that? Why was the master treated like a petty thief? Seriously?
Seeing Qiu Ling’s stunned expression, Su Nuan Nuan cleared her throat and threw up her hands. “Miss may not know, but recently the lord’s appetite had suddenly grown out of proportion. The moment something good is made in Mei Yue Lou, even a rat’s nose would lose to his. He would appear every single time, and each time devouring or snatching everything away. Even I started fearing his visits.”
Qiu Ling had no words, this involved her old mistress too. Why had the master been eating and snatching food from this place? Wasn’t it to show his filial duty to the old madam? The way first madam puts it, why did it sound like the master was sharing his loot with the old madam? How could Qiu Ling just accept this lying down?
When they reached the North Court gate, they could already hear sounds of laughter coming from the house. Su Nuan Nuan gave Qiu Ling a suspicious eye, but this girl managed to maintain her composure. After some careful listening: Your mom, this kind of noise won’t happen unless there are over 10 people in one room together. What ‘a little bored’? That old woman just want to deceive me and trick me here, isn’t it? And must you use snacks as an excuse? Must you?
“This miss, just now you said that the old madam was feeling bored?” Su Nuan Nuan could not resist asking, she did not believe that Qiu Ling’s face could match Duan Tingxuan when it came to thickness.
As expected, red suffused this maid’s face, however her smile widened even more, “Well, it’s true, isn’t it? The old madam felt bored, so she called everyone over.”
Incredible! This kind of chameleon like ability to flip black to white, as expected of the old madam’s head maid. Su Nuan Nuan showed her thumb, her face filled with admiration, even as her mouth drawled. “Since so many people arrive, is there any need for me to be here? Nobody else wants to see my face, surely the old madam also knows this.”
Qiu Ling choked for a bit, after a long while not knowing whether to laugh or cry. “Since we’re already here, why should first madam hesitate? No matter what, you are old madam’s granddaughter-in-law, please be at ease, nobody will dare bully you.”
“I’m not afraid of being bullied, I’m merely concerned about giving trouble to the lord and the old madam.” Su Nuan Nuan gave a small he-he laugh, she tilted her chin up 45 degrees angle, stared at the sky and whispered.
“The truth is I’m tired.” Her voice was low, depressed and melancholic, surely this was good enough to fool that Qiu Ling, ba?
At these words, she slowly ascended the steps. From behind, Qiu Ling stared at the slim confident back and murmured. “The heir is right, madam really has changed. She has become more powerful, people can’t help but like her.”
When Su Nuan Nuan heard this, she had to resist the urge to squat down in a corner and sulk. She had to refrain from sighing, the people in this mansion are really not simple, really difficult to trick, ah.
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It could be said that Su Nuan Nuan’s arrival was the stone that stirred up a thousand waves. The people who were laughing in the room suddenly went silent. However, none of them were stupid enough to jump up and demand. “Who ask you to come?” Even Madam Yang was perfectly dignified as she sat still, not a single thread of emotion leaked out. Su Nuan Nuan was starting to regret coming. Curse this whole family, not a single one of them was easy to deal with.
As all eyes were glued upon Su Nuan Nuan, but all they saw was her moving at an unhurried pace over to the old madam to give her greetings. Then, she went over to greet the other elders, Madam Yang and Madam Min. Perhaps the others may be ignorant, but Madam Yang had personally seen this woman chase her son around her courtyard with a broom with a most shrewish expression on her face. To see a smile as refreshing as spring breeze on that same face really tested her mental capacity. She had serious trouble reconciling these two person together.
Once Su Nuan Nuan was done with her greetings, Xu Ran Yun and co also had to ceremoniously greet her. Su Nuan Nuan said nothing as she sized up the rascal’s collection in front of her. She had already seen Xu Ran Yun and Xue Zi Lan, that docile looking woman behind Xu Ran Yun should be Concubine Jiang, ba?
There’s also that pair of eyes to the side, staring with hidden hostility. Probably Duan Tingye’s wife, Yu Rou. Yi? Who’s that standing next to Xue Zi Lan? F***, why did it have to be like this? Surely the heaven is not such an unfair being, ba? To allow such a beautiful woman to exist, it would be better if all other woman just die off, ah.
Su Nuan Nuan was cursing the heavens in her heart, this super beauty almost made her lose her composure. When her fiery eyes landed on that woman, she actually retreated a step. The woman touched her own face uneasily and said faintly. “Why is madam looking at this one? Is there something wrong with this one’s way of dressing?”
“No, only it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, and felt that your lustrous beauty has increased.” Su Nuan Nuan laughed, her praise was actually quite sincere. Su Meng Nuan’s memory still lingered in her mind and this person’s face was quite prominent there. Therefore, she immediately knew who this Heavenly Beauty was. It’s the Queen of Flowers Duan Tingxuan had bought from a brothel for a large sum of money. The mansion residence all address her as Jing Yi Niang. To be able to make it as a concubine of a large mansion, moreover able to continue to maintain her status even without giving birth to a single child, this certainly proves the power of her charms.
[Gumihou: And thus is the whole of Duan Tingxuan’s harem. First Wife: Su Nuan Nuan; Second Wives: Su Ran Yun & Xue Zi Lan; Concubines: Jiang (Su Ran Yun’s Ex-maid) and Jing (Ex-prostitute); Bed Companions: unknown]