Chapter 67: Borrow a Knife
Translated by Gumihou
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When Xue Zhi Lan heard this, elation and apprehension surged in her heart. Her decision to act the a meek and gentle person had backfired upon her. Though it earned her the good opinion of both elder madam and her husband, the opportunity to take on proper responsibilities like managing the household finances, since that parent and child duo was of the opinion that gentle people should not be overly burdened by responsibilities.
When she realised this, she nearly spat up blood out of sheer frustration. Though the act was done in order to secure her future here, she really had no intention of enduring the indignity of being stepped on for the rest of her life. She had had to endure Xu Ran Yun’s high and mighty attitude this past half year, to the point that she could not even bear to swallow her food. Therefore, while it was quite unexpected to see Xu Ran Yun sob so heartbreakingly in front her, how could she be anything but delighted?
Though she was secretly delighted, Xu Ran Yun was no fool. The woman knew that they’re not friends, but she had still ran over to her place and basically made a fool of herself in front of her. Though she wished to revel in the pleasure of Xu Ran Yun’s misfortune, she knew that this was actually Xu Ran Yun’s way of sending a message: That woman in Chun Feng Court has began to show her teeth, the master had also handed over the warehouse key over to her. Can you not see how much love and trust the lord is giving to that woman?
Though the woman had been his wife for five years, he never once talked about handing over any kind of responsibilities to the first madam, even Xu Ran Yun had to handle various small responsibilities for Duan Tingxuan for three years before the key to the warehouse was handed to her. To be honest, for the sake of this proof of love from her lord, it could be said that Xu Ran Yun had exhausted all her strength and mental powers for it. For the key to be taken out of her hands like that, when she had been so careful to never take a wrong step was like having her heart torn out of her. No wonder she was so devastated. The lord could be incredibly ruthless indeed.
Xue Zhi Lan was quick with her comforting words, she followed it with anxious exclamations of, “But, what could we do? First madam have really taken over our lord’s attention. The lord probably didn’t even have us in his eyes anymore. The last time we urged elder madam over to Mei Yue Lou, I heard that the lord gave elder sister a talking to. Our lord is an intelligent man, whatever we do, we can’t evade his eyes.”
Xu Ran Yun wiped her eyes with a handkerchief. A new tranquillity having taken over her face. This time, her voice was calm, there was even a hint of cold laughter as she said, “Our lord have handed over the warehouse key over to her, most likely it’s over those few dresses she had made for second miss. I heard she even gave second miss some of her own rouge and powders when she noticed the poor quality stuff she uses. Our lord, who had never noticed that branch of the family before, somehow decided to act all benevolent towards them. When I first brought the matter up to our lord, he told me not to bother with people who had nothing to do with us.”
“However, when first madam paid attention to them, she was praised as a benevolent and kind and caring person. This was the excuse he gave when he demanded the warehouse key for her. Have little sister not noticed yet? It’s like the first madam is a completely different person, they are all saying that she had turned over a new leaf. Even old madam and elder madam had been tricked, we heard nothing but praises for her for ages now. Hehe! Isn’t it just some clothes and make-up? For her to get a whole warehouse in exchange, what a great bargain!”
As she spoke, a chilling shiver shot through Xue Zhi Lan’s heart. Curses, she was under the impression that the An Ping family were an incredibly benevolent and forgiving lot. This time, the first madam not only managed to escape death, she had even taken hold of the minds and hearts of the elders in the house. Not only that, she was also making move towards the people in the same generation.
This could not be good for herself, ah. Xu Ran Yun had always been shrewd, and never bothered to try and make nice with the elder madam. However, if that Su Meng Nuan, first wife and the beloved of the lord, someone who could buy older madam and the lord marquis’ heart with snacks were to suck up to the elder madam…
The more she thought about it, the more worried she became. When she suddenly heard Xu Ran Yun laughed in a low voice, “There’s no need for little sister to worry. She wants to fake at being a good person, but after having chased our lord around Mei Yue Lou with a broom, there is no way she could pretend to be anything but a shrew in front of elder madam. However, her righteous anger have lost a lot of power after that shrimp dish. If only we could somehow find some way to make elder madam suspect that woman, no amount of charitable clothes giving will be any good.”
“Elder sister knows I have no brains for this kind of thing, why not just tell me what to do?” Xue Zhi Lan said with a smile. She now understood why Xu Ran Yun had come. So, this woman wants to make me do her dirty work? Let’s see who makes use of whom in the end.
Xu Ran Yun took a sip of tea, she knew that Xue Zhi Lan was being wary. She would have to reveal something in order to motivate that other woman. Even a fool would have to show some teeth if she did not want to be shoved aside. Who was she going to cry to when she’s bullied?
In a while, she smiled around her tea and said, “If you have no brains for this matter, I have to admit at being stupid. Ah, I’m so upset, what should I do? Whatever, let’s not talk about this anymore. I’m here to chat with you out of boredom. Did you know who’s the most beloved at Chun Feng Court?”
What an abrupt change of subject, Xue Zhi Lan was suspicious, but could not see the reason behind the subject change, “The most beloved? Isn’t that the first madam?”
Xu Ran Yun shook her head with a smile, “No, no, I have heard that the most beloved thing in that place is a large tortoiseshell cat. I heard that it even have its own set of bowls and dishes. It’s fed with carefully cooked fish, meat, chicken and rice, and was given a bath every single day. Hahaha, little sister, don’t you think that’s funny? A cat being treated like a precious daughter of the house. Did you know that our brother and sister-in-law also love cats?”
“I heard they once tried to beat up a cat that had bitten their precious Persian cat. It turns out that beast of a cat belonged to second young miss, who was too weak to say anything, but was still daring enough to smuggle the cat away. Our brother and sister-in-law are still quite unsettled over this matter. The beast had the luck of the devil and is now the favourite of Chun Feng Court. No matter how bitterly they gnash their teeth over this matter, there’s nothing they can do about it, ah.”
Xue Zhi Lan’s heart shook, she raised her head and looked at Xu Ran Yun. Sure enough, her eyes were filled with meaning, Xue Zhi Lan finally understood and chuckled slightly, “How funny, to be quarrelling over pets. I wonder, how interesting it would be to see first and second madam fight over cats.”
When Xu Ran Yun saw that Xue Zhi Lan had understood her meaning, the shackles around her heart fell away. They sat and chatted for a while, Xu Ran Yun seemingly having forgotten her heartbroken situation earlier.
As soon as she left, Cai Sang and Long Yan rushed over to Xue Zhi Lan’s side. Cai Yun whispered, “Madam, it’s clear Madam Yun wants you to stick your neck out, this is too much. Why should you risk yourself? What happened to her cunning attitude? Is she planning to play the good woman this time?”
Xue Zhi Lan was also very bitter over this matter. The crumpled up the house clothes that she had been making for Duan Tingxuan into a ball and threw it aside. She said through gritted, “There’s no choice, did you not hear what she said? The lord had just handed over the warehouse key to the first madam without making her take over the financial matters of the house.”
“But what about us? It had been days since the lord last visited me or even Concubine Jing. I’m lucky to have elder madam on my side, however, what if that woman manage to win over elder madam? Do I even have a leg to stand on? Thanks to my looks, there are too many people in this place who hated me. Once I lost power, they will all rush over to stomp on me.”