Chapter 75: Intimidate with Power
Translated by Gumihou
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The words stabbed through Ms. Zhang like an array of knives, tearing her witty charade to bits as she collapsed to her knees and shrilled, “This slave does not deserve madam’s kindness. Madam is the first wife of the heir, your word is law. How could this slave dare disrespect your word. As long as madam orders it, this slave will make it happen, even if this lowly one has to squeeze out her brain to dust to complete it.”
As she spoke, tears dripped off her face: Curse your mother, using your position as the heir’s wife to squash me. This is beyond smashing a mosquito with a hammer, you’re smashing a mosquito with heaven’s sword, ah. First madam, even if you don’t care about the rules, how could you just fling your weight as the heir’s wife about so casually? Have you no decency at all?
“It’s good that you respect me.” Su Nuan Nuan smiled slightly, before wrathfully declared. “Well, since you respect me so much, carry out my orders! I trust you shall not bring me nonsense like Zhao Chai was beaten up outside the house, right?”
“Wouldn’t dare, wouldn’t dare, even with ten more guts, this lowly slave wouldn’t dare.” Ms. Zhang babbled. Su Nuan Nuan nodded, and said, “Very good. It’s too bad the lord isn’t at home, otherwise I wouldn’t be here to bother you. Very well, make sure you investigate this matter properly for me. I shall await your news at my house. If, by the time the lord came back, you still haven’t any news for me, I won’t be needing your services anymore. I’ll just get the lord deal with the matter directly.” Humph, that Duan Tingxuan’s name was certainly a convenient thing to throw around, it would be a pity not to use it.
Wei, are you saying that bullying me with your first wife status is not enough, you want to intimidate me with the master’s name? Can’t you at least let me have a bit of wriggle room?
Ms. Zhang watched Su Nuan Nuan’s disappearing back through tearful eyes. Her liver was not the only thing trembling, all the organs in her body were shivering from this one encounter: Lost! Alas, all is lost! Everything is gone, gone, her comfortable life had swirled down the drain. To think, she had just been gleefully revelling over the thought that first madam had been tamed. Who would have thought that although that woman might be content to lie low when things were quiet would actually rear up, all claws and teeth extended, to tear your throat out.
Ms. Dong allowed Ms. Zhang some time to settle her feelings before opening her mouth, “Elder, what should we do now?”
“What else could we do?” Ms. Zhang hauled herself from the floor with a low growl. “Tch. Send out the word. First madam’s reward will go to whoever brings us news first.”
“Do we really need to do investigate? This matter is clearly second lady’s doing.” Ms. Dong gave a bitter smile and thought: This woman better not be so muddled by first madam threat that she had forgotten that second lady was not an easy opponent to deal with.
“What do you expect me to do? Surely not wait for the master to come home and handle the matter himself?” at this, Ms. Zhang suddenly started and looked at Ms. Dong anxiously, “I say, do you really think the master will stick out his neck for her? Didn’t the master use to find her really annoying and naggy?”
“Aiyo, my dear elder, that’s all in the past. Things are very different now with the first madam. Not only the master, even the old madam were incredibly indulgent with her. According to Miss Qiu Ling, the old madam didn’t mind even though she skipped her greetings for two or three more days. In fact, the old madam often call her over to accompany her. The old madam enjoyed having her over so much that the old lady often eat an extra bowl of rice whenever she’s there.
Ms. Zhang sighed mightily, starring up at nothing as she said, “Then, what’s the use of you cautioning me about investigating into this matter? Whatever, first madam, second lady, I can’t afford to offend any of them. The only thing I can do now is to be as impartial as possible.”
When Su Nuan Nuan returned back to her house, Hong Lian rushed out to say, “Missy, for you to personally go but leave after just a few words… do you think it’s a good idea? She’s still the house manager, though her authority is nothing like Madam Yun’s, you can’t treat her lightly, but you can’t disrespect her either.”
“Heh heh, Duan Tingxuan vs second lady who do you think the servants fear more?” Su Nuan Nuan eyed Hong Lian for awhile before saying, “Moreover, I’ve already paid them a personal visit. Do you really think Housekeeper Lu would dare to see me empty handed and tell me no one saw what happen?”
Hong Lian was speechless, then her face grew distressed again, “But, though the master treats Missy well, he only did so within the inner court. Outsiders might not know, ah.”
Su Nuan Nuan waggled her finger at her, “Nope, nope, nope, what’s the most prominent gossip going around now? Everyone is still talking about how your mistress is like a dried fish that came back to life. It’s possible the servants are the still enthusiastically talking about it now. Did you not notice how many maids randomly turn up just to chat with our Hua’er and Cong’er for no good reason? They are sent to find out what Duan Tingxuan really felt about me. With such efficiency, everyone in this mansion would know your master’s feelings for me within a day, and… heh heh, we’ve already in this place for about a half a month already, didn’t we?”
Hong Lian nodded slowly. What Su Nuan Nuan said was not wrong, Ms. Zhang knew that she only had bluster on her side and dared not offend the first madam. Especially when she knew that the lord heir was the mountain behind the first madam, ready to back her up any moment.
Less than an hour later, an older maid came over to solemnly swear that she had seen Zhao Chai beaten up. As expected, it was done by the maids and female servants under Ms. Shi. The maid had a rather agile tongue and it would appear that she had been telling the truth. Looked like she really had witness the incident and was not afraid to claim the reward for herself.
Su Nuan Nuan nodded and said, “Very good, I am a woman of my word so, Hong Lian, bring the 10 silver liangs for this good mother. Also, go and send word to Madam Yun, tell her I am in need of a night duty servant and wish to have this good mother as my maid.”
The maid stuck out her neck for the reward money because she had a seriously ill person at home and needed the money. Also, she had seen the way first madam treated her existing maids now and was more than grateful to be taken in as part of the staff. At Su Nuan Nuan’s words, she fell to her knees and began thanking her new mistress gratefully.
Su Nuan Nuan rose majestically, “Now that we have a witness, let’s go and pay a visit to second lady’s place.”
“Missy, you can’t”
Hong Lian cried out, shocked by her mistress’ crude and simplistic tactic. Su Nuan Nuan gave a cold snort at her protest, “What are you fussing about? This is a simple matter, is it not? I intend to give her a piece of my mind and a good slap or two. There’s no need to play complicated mind games with her over such a straight forward thing. The straight forward way is the best, let’s go.”
Hong Lian wanted to say that inner court battles were meant to be complicated and insidious, Missy, if you challenge this matter head on aren’t you just stomping on years of unwritten rule? Even the old madam wouldn’t be able to help you. However, Su Nuan Nuan’s resolute face caused the words to die in her throat. Her mistress had already made up her mind, if the master tried to dissuade her, she’d probably swallow the man alive.
Su Nuan Nuan stormed out with her maids trailing behind her, just in time to encounter Duan Tingfang and Duan Xinqi. The brother’s face was expressionless, his eyebrows sharply inclined and proud. Duan Xinqu grabbed her brother by the sleeves and hurried forward eagerly to greet her favourite sister-in-law, utterly undaunted by her grim look. “Sister-in-law, where are you going with that fierce look on your face?”