Chapter 73: Badly Injured Zhao Chai
Translated by Gumihou
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The morning was getting late when a faint noise sneaked into Su Nuan Nuan’s dream. The noise grew and grew until she suddenly shuddered awake. She sat up and cocked her head, and guessed that the noise actually came from her own courtyard.
Su Nuan Nuan yawned and sat up, sleepily stuffing her feet into embroidered soft shoes. She thrust her arms into a thin robe before finally calling out to her maid.
“Hong Lian, what’s going on out there?”
Without waiting for an answer, she shuffled out, in time to hear a pattering of footsteps running towards her. Hong Lian, Xiang Yun, Cong’er and Hua’er all appeared, all four maids were red in face and panting with fury. There was a bloody bundle in Xian Yun’s arms. With a sudden thump, the maid fell onto her knees and said in a choked voice, “Missy, Zhao Chai… Zhao Chai had been beaten half to death.”
Su Nuan Nuan stopped, she had been languid with sleep, but was instantly awakened at the news. A murderous intent suffused her, the maids could practically see the anger fairly steaming off her trembling body. Hong Lian had not seen this degree of anger from her mistress since Mei Yue Lou. Normally, her mistress was the source of anger for others, not the other way round.
Her voice was low and tightly controlled, surprising Xiang Yun by her apparent calm. Hong Lian on the other hand, could hear the bitterness underlying her mistress’ voice. Missy is really angry now, this time she definitely won’t take things lying down.
“Zhao Chai is always running about, but since everyone in the mansion knows he belongs to Missy, no one dares to make trouble. When he ran out this morning, we maids thought nothing of it. Who would have thought that he would come back all bloodied up. We were terribly shocked when he came in and collapsed before us, just look at this… someone has almost beaten him to death.”
Su Nuan Nuan said nothing, she reached out a hand to gently stroked the bloodied and dirty fur. Zhao Chai made a weak ‘meuwoo’ sound. His granite black eyes were steady, there was a gleam of fury in those bottomless depths. This large cat was a wild thing at heart, and unlike those pampered domesticated cats, won’t bother with charm to get his way. He was a sharp one, and knew who was good to him and who was not.
The excellent food and special pampering from the maids had made him more gracious towards the inhabitants of Chun Feng Court, he hadn’t scratched anyone for a long time, only letting out the occasional mew of pleasure to express his satisfaction for their services. He was especially pleased with Su Nuan Nuan as well as his former mistress, Duan Xinqi.
The maids were alright of course, and he tolerated strokings from the little marquis, but if he were to sense any ‘mischief’ from the man, he would not hesitate to retaliate. For some perverse reason, this actually made Duan Tingxuan liked the cat more. Naturally, what the man liked most was to play tricks on the cat, and was scratched up quite a few times for his bad attitude. Thankfully, the little marquis was a highly skilled martial artist, and managed to avoid attacks on his face, or he would have become the laughing stock of the entire country.
Zhao Chai had to swallow such a huge loss today and nearly lost his life to boot. The natural wildness that had been muffled by recent good life spring back up even more fiercely than before. In the arms of Su Nuan Nuan, he waved his tail back and forth agitatedly, letting out an occasional disgruntled mew. It was as though he was saying: Though it’s unbecoming for a cat to entertaining vengeful thought, just you wait until my body has recovered.
“Hong Lian, go and find a physician you know well and asked him for the name of a physician with the most experience with animals. Bring him here for Zhao Chai.” said Su Nuan Nuan after a cursory investigation of Zhao Chai’s injuries.
The bleeding had stopped, and it looked like there was no life threatening injuries, however, she still wanted to have a good vet to clean and bind his wound, and prescribe some medicine for faster recovery. There were a lot of aristocrats and rich madams in this world who loved their pet animals, but thus far there were no actual physician specializing in animal care. So they’d have to make to with physicians experienced in animal treatment.
“Yes,” Hong Lian bobbed once and rushed to the door. Then, she suddenly turned around an rushed back to her mistress. In a low voice she said, “Missy, you must not be rash, whatever your decision, please think thrice. This maid is truly angry over Zhao Chai’s misfortune, and we must not let the evil doers get scot free, nor we lose our head over this matter. If Missy still wishes to lead a carefree life and not stick your hand into inner court politics, you may only stay in within your own courtyard and not do anything. If… if you were to strike out strongly, I fear… Missy’s peaceful days will be over.”
“You do your thing, I have plans of my own.” Su Nuan Nuan knew what Hong Lian was going on about. No matter what, for her to rock the boat for the sake of a cat, if the elders were to hear about this unsightly behaviour, she might not be able to placate them with good food. With people fanning flames in the background, whatever good will she had gained might just disappear from this act. Who knows how many people had stuck their hands in to orchestrate this situation she was in. If she really wished to live a peaceful life in this mansion, she could not swallow this disgrace quietly. She would have come down hard on the culprits and instil the fear of acting against her. Moreover, she would have to do it without falling into someone else’s trap and be cast into the role of a shrewish wife again. While she didn’t care about offending people, being out of favour with the elders would drag her back into the middle of the family political struggle.
In reality, Su Nuan Nuan just couldn’t take it anymore. Though Zhao Chai was just a cat, he was as close as family to her heart. To see a family member literally beaten half to death was like taking a knife to her own flesh. If she could still endure this insult, could she still be considered human? Did those women think that she, Su Nuan Nuan, would duck her head and swallow her anger for the sake of a conflict free life? Only a nun would be able to do this, not her.
Humph, these people were just too naive, ah!
With Zhao Chai held securely in her arms, she sat down and gently petted his injured body. Su Nuan Nuan sighed privately: Just when she thought she could just chuck whatever problems she had to Duan Tingxuan and become a peaceful foodie here. The original plan to serve up a new dish now and then to placate the elders and her ‘rivals’ would not be enough. Now that she had entered the inner court, there was no way she could stay aloof from the mucky family politics. Duan Tingxuan was the heir after all, and was responsible for goodness knows how many important matters. Why, just yesterday he was called out late in the evening to see that Lord Long and she still haven’t seen a hair of him. So, it’s not like she could just tie him to her belt like a protective charm and expect him to deal with every trivial problem. Even though the man’s a male slut, she still shouldn’t bully him that way.
“Missy, are… are we just going to leave things like that?”
Xiang Yun, Hua’er and Cong’er glanced at each other, the maids were all fairly sure that their mistress was no shrinking violet, but… if this was not an act of cowardice, why was she just sitting here and petting Zhao Chai? Why hasn’t she gone off to beat up those people who had hurt their Zhao Chai?
“Of course I’m not going to leave things like that.”
Su Nuan Nuan’s voice was uncharacteristically cold, killer intent filling the air.
Xiang Yun was shocked, and Su Nuan Nuan continued softly, “We’ll wait until Zhao Chai is well before I collect our pound of flesh. It’s not like those bitches are going anywhere, so what’s the rush?”
[Gumihou: Erm, seriously? You beat up the cat? Have you never watch John Wick?]