Chapter 47: Profound Words

Translated by Gumihou

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Unfair, unfair, ah! How could such a excellent cabbage be snapped up by that pig Duan Tingxuan?

Just look at Xue Zi Lan and Concubine Jing standing quietly together, these were high level women whose beauty could qualify them as the country’s best. It’s likely that one could not find two such Heavenly Beauties even within the emperor’s three palaces and six courts. To think they both ended up as Duan Tingxuan’s second wife and concubine.

She cast a glance at Xu Ran Yun and Concubine Jiang, though their looks could not be compared with the two Heavenly Beauties, their faces reflected the classical flower like beauty of the time. Moreover, it was the higher grade kind of flowers. In her memory, those few women who served as that man whore’s bed companions were also incredible lookers. Just thinking about this made Su Nuan Nuan sighed painfully in her heart. She really pitied those young pretty girls: with such fine beauty wouldn’t men just line themselves up to marry them? Why would they offer themselves to that lusty carrot Duan Tingxuan?

Looking at these women and pitying them, this first madam had completely forgotten that Duan Tingxuan was considered the diamond of the first water, the noblest of the aristocrat. Beyond his social position, his looks, height and intelligence alone set him apart from the tens of thousands of men around him, not to mention his talent with politics and the sword. How could anyone not love such a man? Just becoming a concubine would be a grand wish, ah. As for lustiness? Isn’t lustiness a good thing? When did lustiness become a bad thing?

Su Nuan Nuan also knew that her modern way of thinking was too different from these ancient ladies. That gap was probably as wide as the Milky Way, preventing Herder Boy from ever seeing Weaver Girl[1]. Thus, she kept her complaints in her heart and did not allow it to colour her expression. Instead, she spent her time secretly sneaking glances at Concubine Jing and Xue Zi Lan, furtively admiring their top class looks.

Ah, great beauty, ah. With two such beauties around, to think that rascal would still go out and strive for social and political success at court instead of spending his time between their soft bosoms, clearly he’s just a greedy demon.

Even more hateful was the fact that he did not bother to hang out with these great beauties after work, but would pester her everyday at Mei Yue Lou and steal food. Just what was he thinking? Had his brain really been soaked too long?

“Nuan Nuan, it’s been a long time since you came to my place. Since you’re here, why have you not spoken a word? Since when did you become so depressingly quiet?”

Old Madam Fang smiled winsomely at the people in her living room. After allowing some time for everyone to size up each other, she finally opened her mouth to pull some liveliness back into the room.

“The more one said, the more mistakes one made. This granddaughter-in-law of yours did not know this before and suffered for it. How could I not learn from my mistakes?” Su Nuan Nuan smiled slightly as she came towards old madam’s side. After casting her eyes at the venerable old lady she laughed, and said. “Though it’s been a while since I’ve seen old madam, your complexion actually gotten better.”

“Isn’t this all thanks to your efforts?” Old Madam Fang gave a hehe laugh and was still chuckling a little when she heard a maid said with a low voice. “Is that second miss making her way here?” A glance past the curtains revealed a girl with hunched up shoulders and lowered head.

Su Nuan Nuan also looked, however because of the lowered head, she could not see the face properly. On the other hand, she did know that this was the only daughter of the old marquis, born of Concubine Lin. Liu Mei had a daughter just a year older than Duan Tingxuan. This daughter had died a year ago after marrying out to Jiang Ning. Rumour has it that she had died from sickness. Because of this, Liu Mei had cried her eyes out when they got the news.

“Why is second miss so late?”

Behind Madam Yang, Concubine Lin asked anxiously, with a little bit of rebuke in her voice. The girl lowered her head even more, and said softly. “I tripped on my way, and thus was delayed.”

“It’s fine, there’s no need to blame her if she had tripped. This child is already too shy, if you all keep talking like that she’ll be even more frightened.” Old Madam Fang said neutrally. Though her words were kind, she nevertheless did not ask Duan Xinqi to come over. Just from this omission, Su Nuan Nuan realized that the old madam did not actually like this girl. The source of the dislike was possibly due to her illegitimacy, or her weak character, whichever the reason this girl was quite pitiful.

This was only a small interlude, the rest of the peanut gallery could not be bothered to waste their attention on Duan Xinqi, they were all more interested in Su Nuan Nuan. Thus, after just a flickered glance, all eyes stuck back onto Su Nuan Nuan’s person, only to hear Old Madam Fang cheerfully said. “I had not known that you could cook so well in the past, all those things you’ve sent to me all suit my taste very well. The kitchen had just received some very good seafood. But, I’m worried that they don’t know how to deal with it and might just ruin good ingredients, so I called you over to have a look, and maybe prepared some good things for this old lady.”

Su Nuan Nuan finally understood: No wonder Hong Lian could not get hold of the seafood. This old lady had been holding the ingredients hostage in order to lure her in. As expected of Duan Tingxuan’s grandmother, sneaky as a fox and greedy as a snake. Already such an old person still want to eat, eat, eat, not afraid of exploding from being over stuffed.

First madam quietly cursed in her heart, but managed to maintain a gentle and agreeable expression. She smiled, “Is that so, then I shall have a look in old madam’s place. However, there’s just one small problem. I’m afraid the condiments in our kitchens aren’t complete. There would be no way for us to cook a proper seafood meal. Completely, impossible.” Hehe! There no such thing as a free lunch, well, surely old madam would understand, ba?

“Hm! Not enough condiments? What interesting recipe do you have in mind? Never mind, you can just go to the kitchen and teach them the recipe. That way you can enjoy good food without lifting a finger, won’t that be good?” En, this was really unexpected, still dare to bargain with me. However, trying to exchange one lunch meal for all the seafood seemed a little too greedy, ba?

“I don’t really have anything too special in my kitchen. Even if I do have some, it won’t be a lot, it would be a waste if I make too much and just leave it to spoil. Moreover, as people of the palace, we must all eat according to very strict rules.” Su Nuan Nuan’s smile was like blooming flowers.

These words almost made Old Madam Fang choke on her spit. Curses, you really have the cheek to say all this? My precious grandson have already informed me that you value eating above all things, you actually dare to show a ‘strict rules’ face in front of me?

Though she was busy condemning this Su Nuan Nuan for being shameless, the old madam knew that she had been counting her chickens before they hatched. This granddaughter-in-law was obviously not going to release the hawk unless she sees the hare[2]. With no other choice, she could only smile and nodded. “Since you put it this way, then please take the seafood with you. Once you’ve prepared the meals, just remember to let us have some.”

This time the smile on Su Nuan Nuan’s face was genuine, her eyes curved into inverted crescents. She nodded. “Since old madam trusted this granddaughter-in-law so much, it is only right for me to show my sincerity. Please sit and relax, I shall bring over more good things for you to eat.” With that, she turned around, nodded at everyone and practically floated out of the room.

Aside from the old madam, Concubine Lin and Duan Xinqi, the rest of the women in the room was stunned. To think that the old madam and that woman had battled back and forth such a long time just for the sake of seafood? Do you have to be so serious? This was a big house, ah. Moreover, one was the official wife of the heir, the other the old madam of this place, must you exert so much energy on schemes over a few barrels of seafood? This… this… are we just props in your eyes? How would you explain this? How could this happen?

Those caught up with complicated issues like honour and dignity were currently complaining in their hearts. However, Su Nuan Nuan could not be bothered with these kinds of people. Just thinking about how those barrels of seafood would soon be hers made her so happy she almost floated off into the sky.

 

[Translator’s Note: Clearly Su Nuan Nuan has got her priorities right!]

 

[1] Herder Boy and Weaver Girl – or The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd, here’s a little youtube video of the story. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ig7yvM3GIU

[2] Not release the hawk before seeing the hare – Not going to show her hand until the most opportune time

 

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Translated by Gumihou at kitchennovel dot com

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