Chapter 61: Trauma
Translated by Gumihou
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It was dusk when Duan Tingxuan finally came back, his expression was not good. For once, Su Nuan Nuan did not give him trouble, merely went to kitchen to prepare more Chinese cabbage and meatball soup the moment he announced his all day starvation. The little marquis’ spirits soon bounced back to it’s normal annoying level when presented with his meal, which pissed off Su Nuan Nuan. Oh, how she hated the fact that she could not use qing gong to fly up and kick him in the head. Glowering, she said, “What are you looking for?”
“That Hong Lian is not around, it seems?”
The little marquis’ voice was brimming with fear, this kind of feeling was so rare that he almost did not recognise it. His attitude made Su Nuan Nuan smirk as she personally scooped more rice for him, “No, she’s not. The mansion kitchen sent a rack of ribs over, I was thinking of getting them to give me some string beans as well and make pickled pork ribs. I’ve asked Hong Lian to cut and salt the ribs in preparation.”
“We have plenty of fresh meat, there’s really no need to make pickled pork rib with green beans.” Duan Tingxuan regained his state of mind quite quickly.
Su Nuan Nuan merely huffed and said, “Fresh meat is good, but when ribs are chopped to bite size pieces and pickled with potatoes and green beans in a large clay pot, it’s a completely different experience. You’ll know when you eat it. By the way, what do you want Hong Lian for?”
“Haih, she’s just a maid after all. I just want to give her a little fright. This afternoon, after that little remark from her, I had to leave for the imperial palace without even a single sip of the soup. I ended up running around without stopping all day. Why did you not tell me that maid of yours has a Crow’s Beak on her? If she continuous to speak this way, I might actually starve to death!”
This caused Su Nuan Nuan’s lips to curl up, even as she nodded in sympathy, “You’re right, that girl has a terrible Crow’s Beak, and bad thing she said came true thus far. However, there’s no need for you to be afraid, I’ll make sure she doesn’t appear in front of you.”
Without waiting for her to finish, Duan Tingxuan laughed, “No need, it’s not like the girl is a true Crow’s Beak. I don’t believe that every bad thing she said actually comes true. Hong Lian is a nice girl, it’s not like I have a trusted maid around me aside from Cai Yun, but she’s is in charge of my study and can’t move around freely. As for Si Ping and Shuang Xi, none of them can enter the inner court except under special circumstances. I hope to depend on her more.”
The little marquis understood that this wife of his have no feelings for him, which was incredibly inconvenient, since he was starting to develop feelings for her. In order to nurture proper man and wife feelings between them, he still needed the sharp as whip Hong Lian to help him out in the background. Therefore, he could not let that careless remark from earlier keep him away from this very useful maid.
Su Nuan Nuan had no idea what was going on in Duan Tingxuan’s heart. What she was most interested in was, “By the way, why have the the empress called you to the palace so suddenly? Since no one had told the lord marquis about your sudden departure, he sent someone over to ask why you haven’t gone over to his study as instructed. When he found out that you entered the palace, he wants you to see him later in the evening.”
Duan Tingxuan drank down an entire bowl of soup in one go, and held out the empty bowl for Su Nuan Nuan to refill. While she was refilling his bow, he delicately patted his lips with a with a handkerchief and said lightly, “Nothing much, the emperor fainted while he was at the empress’ place. She panicked and had the crown prince call for me. But not long after we arrived, the emperor woke up, even the imperial physician said he was fine.”
“So, it’s heatstroke.” Su Nuan Nuan nodded knowingly, immediately calming down at this. However, Duan Tingxuan shook his head, “How could the emperor get heatstroke? He enjoys excellent health, and is actually more afraid of the cold. There is no way he could have gotten heatstroke, those imperial physicians are just stupid. Whatever, lets not talk about it anymore. By the way, it’s one thing for you to know, but please don’t spread the news around.”
Su Nuan Nuan nodded as she studied Duan Tingxuan’s face. Then, she said lightly, “As you’ve said, it’s not a big deal, but if there’s really nothing going on, what’s that awful expression on your face?”
Duan Tingxuan cast his wife an astonished look. Then, he smiled, “Nuan Nuan, you’ve really changed a lot. You’ve gotten sharper too, I really can’t hide my true feelings from your eyes.”
Su Nuan Nuan coughed, she thought, you’ve just overestimated your own acting skills. Also, that Su Meng Nuan was just too dumb and selfish, how could she be compared to the me who have seen countless number of Chinese movie featuring professional actors? Furthermore, this lady have even acted at the actual Forbidden Palace grounds you know. Granted, it was as one of the extras, but I’m good enough to be given a few actual speaking roles. Humph, you want to fight me in terms of real acting skills?
Naturally, these were not something she could actually say. Husband and wife remained deep in their thoughts as they ate. Duan Tingxuan downed two bowls of soup before letting out a sigh of satisfaction. Then, he noticed there were a few more meatballs left in the large bowl and proceeded to shift them into his own bowl. With a satisfied he-he, he said, “These are all made from the beef I minced, no wonder you want to borrow my strength for this. The texture is really something else. It’s incredibly bouncy and chewy, and yet filled with meat juice and very fragrant. To think, you can only eat these thanks to me, without me you probably won’t be able to make these.”
Su Nuan Nuan rolled her eyes as Duan Tingxuan enthusiastically blew his own trumpet. She narrowed her eyes as he set down his chopsticks and glared meaningfully at the meatballs in his bowl. “What’s the meaning of grabbing all those meatballs and not eating them?”
“Who says I’m not eating them? I’m just too full right now, I can hardly move. I just need to walk around a bit and digest some of the food in my stomach, once I have some space I’ll eat them.” True enough, the man stood up and began to pace around the dining room. The bowl of meatballs cradled protectively in his hands. Su Nuan Nuan bristled with anger at this stupid man’s behaviour. She was this close to throwing the large bowl at his head.
“I’ve been doing the horse stance for many days now, and my legs and centre of gravity is very stable. When are you going to teach me proper kungfu?” Su Nuan Nuan confronted Duan Tingxuan after swallowing the last grain of rice in her own bowl. From her own estimation, she could feed the man slut the rest of her life and never learn anything beyond some fancy footwork and useless kata that never amount to much.
“Impossible.” Duan Tingxuan rejected Su Nuan Nuan’s request in one breath. “You’ve only spent a few days doing the horse stance and breathing exercise. Even I, who had been complemented by several martial arts masters as a great talent, had to spend one whole year on those two exercises alone before learning any real kungfu.”
“Then, by your estimation, I will never be able to learn kungfu for the rest of my life.” Su Nuan Nuan finally parsed out Duan Tingxuan’s true meaning and was now crying without tears: Was her dream to become a ‘Female Knight’ now shattered? How was it that other female transmigrators could easily learn all those complicated skills and gain power by leaps and bounds while she’s stuck doing breathing exercises?
“Oh, you probably will never reach my level of mastery. But if your goal is to climb walls, run over rooftops and such, it’s still possible.” the little marquis finally noticed his wife’s ‘bitterly heartbroken’ expression and, anxious for his future meals, began to throw a few strings of hopes at her.
[Gumihou: I swear, this is the most realistic transmigrator ever. Seriously, the way some protagonist gain special skills, it’s like the skills grow everywhere or were sold next to Chinese cabbages at markets or something]