Uggh, why was it empty?
Anyway, it’s here now.
Chapter 56: To Mercilessly Break One’s Word
Translated by Gumihou
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com[Gumihou: This is my favourite chapter, you’ll see why soon.]
Su Nuan Nuan and Xu Ran Yun’s faces were all囧囧, even Duan Tingxuan couldn’t take it anymore. He clapped a hand over his forehead and said, “Mother, when did your imagination became this wild? Me, commit arson? This is a lightning fire, do you think that I, your son, actually have connections with the god of thunder and lightning? To the point that I could just order them to set Mei Yue Lou on fire?”
“Oh? A lightning fire, is it?” Madam Yang was still not convinced. “So, you’re quite sure that you haven’t used the thunder and lightning as a cover and set fire to this place?” As a mother, she knew her son best, and truly, Madam Yang realized just how full of schemes and black water this son of hers have inside of him.
Duan Tingxuan rolled his eyes and sniffed, “I have thought of it, however the God of Thunder never let me have the chance, before I could do anything he had already sent down his bolt of lightning.”
“That’s right, madam. I can bear witness to it. Though our Lord is a no good, miserable being, this was not done by him. I personally saw the lightning and there was a sudden ball of fire that struck the roof. It turned into a huge blaze within seconds.” No matter what, this rascal had just saved her life, and Su Nuan Nuan thought she should at least absolve Duan Tingxuan of being an arsonist.
“You’re clearly a stupid woman. Since you personally witness the fire when it happened, why haven’t you run away? You nearly burnt to death you know? How could you be so stupid?” the little marquis narrowed his eyes at Su Nuan Nuan, clearly ridiculing her from the bottom of his heart.
Embarrassed and angry, Su Nuan Nuan turned to Madam Yang again. “Madam, I have misspoke. Forget what I’ve just said, I never saw any lightning. In fact, you’re probably right. That scum arsonist Lord of ours must have set fire to this place force me into the inner court. His behaviour is too much, unscrupulous, suspicious, worse than an animal, absolutely immoral.”
Madam Yang, “… …”
Duan Tingxuan, “… …”
Xu Ran Yun, “… …”[Gumihou, “… … lol!”]
… please read this at kitchennovel.com …
“Ah, I really hadn’t expect Chun Feng Yuan to be this large, but the decoration is just too excessive. Clearly the original owner of this body has extravagant taste. This woman had clearly suffered from being spoiled beyond belief, no wonder the Duke of Ping collapsed if this was how they bring up their children. Even if they had been framed by someone, if they were people of good sense from the start, no one would have accused them of anything.”
Su Nuan Nuan hugged Zhao Chai to her chest as she sat under the veranda overlooking the flower garden this place was named for. Moreover, though it has only been two days, the cat in her arms was nothing like the wild, skinny thing from before. Though he was still fierce, the cat saw Su Nuan Nuan as a provider of food and warmth, and would defend her to the death against anyone else.
“Yi? Why is second miss here? Is she here to see our Missy?”
Just outside the borders of their courtyard came the voice of a young maid, Cong’er. Su Nuan Nuan looked up, and saw Cong’er came in. The girl smile and said, “This one saw second young miss wondering about outside this place, and thought she must be here to see Missy, but when this one inquired, she said that she wasn’t here to see you and just went away.”
“Second miss?” Su Nuan Nuan was surprised. From her inherited memory, she and this second miss never really interact. Though she had seen that girl at the old madam’s place, she did not have a good look of the girl’s face. That child always had her head down and never looked at anyone in the eye, or said anything to anyone.
The cat in her arms cried out, and Nuan Nuan knew that Zhao Chai was tired of being held and put him down. Perhaps it was the disturbance earlier, she suddenly remembered the big fuss Ms. Shi’s maid made the other day, Zhao Chai started out as second miss’ cat. There was something about a cat fight, between Zhao Chai and Ms. Shi’s Persian cat or something. Because the second miss was as weak as her mother, neither of them could defend go against the fierce wife of the second young master if she wants to skin their cat. In the end, the best they could do was set Zhao Chai free to survive on his own, which was when Su Nuan Nuan met him.
Now that she had thought things through, Su Nuan Nuan stood up and made her way towards the courtyard entrance. As she had half expected, hidden behind a large tree was a young girl dressed in light green and grey, she smiled and called out. “There are bugs in that tree you know, if you’re not careful, they might fall on you…” a sharp scream, and a skinny girl leapt away from the tree like a frightened rabbit.
Su Nuan Nuan laughed heartily and reached out to snag the girl’s hand. “Little second sister, since you’re here already why don’t you come in? I was just feeling bored and was looking for someone to talk to.”
Duan Xinqu’s little face was deathly pale, when she realized that Su Nuan Nuan had just tricked her, she felt crossed and anxious. However, as someone who often gave way under pressure, she dared not say anything to Su Nuan Nuan. Since the other woman had spoken to her so intimately, much of her anger dissipated, replaced by misery. She had lived within the confines of this court for thirteen years, aside from her blood mother and brother, has anyone ever spoken kindly to her?
Very quickly, moisture gathered at the corners of her eyes, she raised head to smile at Su Nuan Nuan. Still unsure what to say, she at least managed to master enough courage to say, “Sister-in-law.”
“I know, you’re here to see Zhao Chai, right?” Su Nuan Nuan hurried back to her house, dragging the young girl by the hand. What a pretty little girl, ah. Too bad she’s born into this awful Duan family. Just look how thin and whispy she is, all skin and bones, if this was the modern era, the parents would have been arrested for child negligence. A wave of sympathy welled up inside of her, what a pitiful creature, aside from her mother she must not have much affection, it’s just too bad her mother was the meek and sad sort.
Duan Xinqu came into Su Nuan Nuan’s courtyard in a daze, as though she could not help herself. Then, she a large tortoiseshell cat stretched out under the veranda, tears spring into her eyes as she dashed forward, scooping the large cat into her arms and crying out, “Mimi, Mimi… I miss you so. Oh, I’ve been so worried, I’m so happy you’re fine now.”
Su Nuan Nuan stood to one side, quietly watching as cat and girl rubbed cheeks, happily reunited at last. She quietly said to Cong’er, “Go bring a basin of water, for the second miss to cool her face.”
Cong’er quickly bobbed and ran off to fetch the water. When it arrived, Duan Xinqu finally looked up a little shamefacedly, “I’m sorry, sister-in-law, I… I just… when I saw Mimi, I… forgot myself.”
“No need for apologies, I understand your feeling.” Su Nuan Nuan said gently. She lead the girl to the basin of water. “Come, rinse your face a little, so your eyes are less swollen.”
“Thank you, sister-in-law.” Duan Xinqu whispered, she washed her face and dried off with the towel Cong’er held out for her. Then, she stared at the large cat with some unease, and whispered. “I… I was only trying to see if I could catch a glimpse of Mimi, I really didn’t meant for anyone to see me…”
“It’s fine even if you do.” Su Nuan Nuan finally discovered the reason for this pretty girl’s meek behaviour. This girl could barely manage to carry out the most basic of communication, her timidity level practically crippled her. Anger and dissatisfaction burned in her heart. Well, one thing she has in access in this world was time, aside from cooking and eating, the rest of the time was spent wallowing in boredom. Also, while Duan Xinqu was a nobody in the eyes of this family, there’s no harm having this girl on her side, right?
Decision made, she pulled Duan Xinqu over to sit with her. She order one of the maids, Hua’er, “Go to the kitchen and bring a box of those Snow Soft Bean Paste Snacks we made yesterday. I want second miss to try it, oh, and make up a pot of tea with that oolong the Lord gifted us recently.”
Hua’er set down her needle work, stood and bowed, “Missy, the master had eaten all the Snow Soft Bean Paste Snacks we fried yesterday. He also carried off the last box of snacks in the cupboard this morning. He also ordered this maid not to inform Missy. However, since Missy has inquired after it, this made has no choice, but to inform.”
“That man has less and less face, we might even see his skull soon.” Su Nuan Nuan rubbed her forehead with a sighed. “Never mind, you go to the other cupboard in the kitchen. I left one box for myself, I knew he would steal from me, humph! Think I won’t know it? Huh?”
Hua’er smiled, “Missy clearly knows the master very well, I expect this is what we call ‘A foot of righteousness, a meter of evil’…” her voice fell under Su Nuan Nuan cold glare, “What’s that supposed to mean? Who’s evil?”
“Yes, this one has misspoke, It is ‘A foot of evil, a meter of righteousness’.” Hua’er curved her lips and went off to fetch the snacks. Su Nuan Nuan turned to Duan Xinqu and said, “I’ve just showed you something shameful. I just got these two maids recently, but who would have known that in just a few short days they were ruined by Hong Lian and Xiang Yun. Just look, do they look even a little respectful? But, I suppose this is good too. What’s the use of having all the maids looking at me like mice freaking out at the sight of a cat? Don’t you think so too?
Duan Xinqu who was already stunned by the interplay between maid and mistress, not only by Hua’er’s boldness, but also by Su Nuan Nuan’s unflattering remark about Duan Tingxuan’s shamelessness, he was the older brother she had never really known. Ever since she was a child, Duan Tingxuan had always been that lofty, talented heroic older brother, to hear him being described as a food thief by sister-in-law was…what? It was just too strange, ah.
Suddenly, she registered what Su Nuan Nuan had said, blinked, and hurriedly replied, “Sister-in-law, I, that is… it’s, it’s bad enough that I’m pressing on your hospitality like this, sister-in-law, you don’t have to… that is, there’s no need to treat me so well…” there more she spoke the smaller her voice became, her fingers kept fiddling with her sleeves and looked more and more anxious.
“What’s all this talk about hospitality? Isn’t it just us sisters-in-law having a chat together? Isn’t it unthinkable for me to invite you here without serving you anything?” Su Nuan Nuan shook her head, she was already planning to make connections with this girl. A quick dart of her eyes she took in Duan Xinqu’s face and figure before casually asking, “How old are you this year?”
“Thirteen.” Duan Xinqu said in a small voice, it was like talking to a mosquito.
“Thirteen is when the first blush of womanhood arrive, so why is this young lady in front of me dressed in such depressing colours? Please don’t blame me for being nosy, you’re a precious daughter of this family after all, and at the very important threshold of your life. You should wear some fresher colours at least.”
“I… I don’t really dress up much.” Duan Xinqu’s head practically dropped to her chest, tears gathered in her eyes. Precious daughter of the family? Is she really a precious daughter of the family? If sister-in-law hadn’t said it, she would have forgotten about this. Not only herself, every single person in the court from the servants to her own parents have all forgotten this little fact. Moreover, who within this mansion grounds even treated her like a precious daughter anymore? The most she could boast of was that her dress was made of silk, isn’t that good enough?
Su Nuan Nuan looked at Duan Xinqu with some bitterness in her heart, she pretended ignorance and said, “The clothes you wore during that last visit to old madam, now that’s something you should be wearing everyday. If girls don’t pay attention to their dresses and makeup, what else do they spend their time on?
 A foot of evil, a meter of righteousness – No matter how one changes, someone else will top it.