Chapter 76: Crude Violence
Translated by Gumihou
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“Zhao Chai was almost beaten to death. I, as his mistress, could not overlook this matter. I am on the way to teach those hateful servants a lesson, does little sister want to come?”
Duan Tingfang’s proud and aloof expression collapsed, he looked like he had just seen a ghost, all huge eyes and dropped open mouth. Duan Xinqu was also stunned by the news. However, her concerned was on the safety of her beloved former pet, “How is Zhao Chai?”
“I’ve already had a physician look at him, there are no truly serious wounds, but his life was in danger for a while.”
At Su Nuan Nuan’s words, second young miss’ face flushed red, her little fist clenched, tears of anger and frustration brimmed in her eyes as she said through gritted teeth, “Those people are too awful. Zhao Chai wasjust minding his own business when second sister-in-law’s cat came and provoked him. After that, second sister-in-law came over with a group of servants to our door and tried to grab Zhao Chai, luckily he was sharp and managed to escape them. To think they still… this is just too much.”
“Isn’t it? They even dared to disrespect me, how could they even be bothered with the you back then?” Su Nuan Nuan snarled as she snapped her sleeves angrily. “Let’s go. Second sister, you may come if you like. Otherwise stay back and look after Zhao Chai.”
“I will go with elder sister-in-law.” Duan Xinqu said through clenched teeth. The young woman was no fool, she and her mother were like shadows in this mansion. In fact, aside from elder sister-in-law, no one else had ever given them a second look. If she were to hide away now, isn’t this just like kicking her benefactor in the teeth? Also, she really wanted to personally score some points for Zhao Chai.
“Little sister, have you gone crazy?” Third Young Master Duan pulled his little sister aside, trying to stop her from going off with Su Nuan Nuan.
Duan Xinqu snorted, “So what if I’ve gone crazy? My life as a sane person was grim and unhappy, now that I’ve gone crazy with sister-in-law, I’d say I’ve not live my life in vain. You menfolk better stay out of this matter, just stay here and wait for older brother to come back.”
With that, she threw off her brother’s hand and ran off after Su Nuan Nuan.
Third Young Master Duan could only watch as his beloved little sister run after Su Nuan Nuan, ready and eager to be the first madam’s disciple. He really wanted to go after them, but men were not supposed to get involved with women’s political struggle. The helpless third young master could only pace around the courtyard like a trapped animal. When Cong’er and Hua’er invited him to enter the house for a drink, he ignored them. In fact, when Duan Tingxuan appeared at the entrance, it was like seeing a knight in shining armour. Third Young Master Duan dropped his proud façade and ran forward, calling out, “Elder brother! You must go after elder sister-in-law, she had gone to second sister-in-law’s place to make trouble, and she has taken second sister with her. You must think of a way to stop them!”
Even the normally sharp and agile minded little marquis was struck dumb at the sight of his anxious third brother. Is this really his third brother? His gloomy and antisocial brother who always looked like everyone owed him 10,000 silver liangs? How long since he had last seen this brother of his? Months? Half a year? How had he suddenly turned into such and emotional being in such a short time?
Duan Tingfang too found himself way too flustered, nothing at all like his carefully cultivated icily arrogant image. Spots of red appeared on his cheeks, but luckily Duan Tingxuan didn’t spend too much time staring at him. Instead, he turned to the Cong’er and Hua’er to ask, “Just what is going on?”
Cong’er and Hua’er wasted no time telling him what happened. Duan Tingxuan’s languidly smiling face grew ashen as they continued their tale. He cast a wordless gaze to the spot where Zhao Chai was recovering from his injuries, then stood for a while, thinking. Finally, he turned to Cong’er and said, “When will we hear from the messenger maid?”
Wei, wei, wei, brother, surely you’re focusing on the wrong thing, ba?
After hanging about outside for awhile, perhaps worried that he might attract the attention of another brother, Duan Tingfang rushed into the house after his eldest brother. After nearly knocking his head into the door in his rush, he heard Cong’er telling his brother how the first madam had gone out the second time after coming in just an hour earlier. Duan Tingxuan nodded, and said mildly, “Looks like that Lu woman knows the rules.”
This… just what does this mean? That Lu woman knows the rules? If the news had came in later, it would mean she disrespects her masters? Hey, you’re the heir you know, are you really sure about throwing your authority around for the sake of your wife’s cat? What happened to your dignity? Your status?
Third Young Master Duan’s eyes grew larger, and larger until a headache started brewing behind his eyes. Then, he heard Duan Tingxuan continued, “How many people did your mistress bring?”
“Only elder sister Hong Lian and Xiang Yun, and that Granny Zou, when second young miss arrived she went with them too.” Cong’er said shyly. When her mistress had stormed off earlier, for the sake of a cat, she had thought that her mistress was incredibly awe inspiring. However, now that she had to report the matter to her master, she was starting get the impression that her mistress’ actions might have been a bit inappropriate.
As expected, the skin between Duan Tingxuan’s wrinkled up. Beside him, Duan Tingfang breathed a sigh of relief: Good, very good, in the end his brother was still the heir and it wouldn’t do for his wife to to be seen doing all this for a mere cat.
“Si Ping.” Duan Tingxuan straightened up and called for his manservant. “Bring two men with you and take a look at the situation. Nuan Nuan didn’t bring a lot of people with her so make sure you back her up no matter what.”[Pu tong] the always cool and icy third young master had collapsed to the floor. He had been too naive, ah, to think that his brother was sending Si Ping over to bring sister-in-law back. To think that his brother’s major concern was that sister-in-law hadn’t brought enough backup with her. Fine, whatever, the whole mansion knows that you love your wife, but… but.. isn’t this a kind of sickness? Are you not afraid that woman will step on your head?
Si Ping too couldn’t stand seeing his master this way, he muttered, “Master, it’s already against the law for me to be here, yet you want me to bring two more men to confront the branch house. First madam might be able to do it, but this slave can’t. The old madam herself set down the rules, manservants can’t be in the inner court. If master is really concerned about first madam, why don’t master personally visit them? You are the heir after all, if you go, who would dare to stop you?”
“What foolish words is this! You too know that I am the heir, no? How can I just storm into battle with the women? Where am I to put my face afterwards? Stop your nonsense, I’ve ordered you to go, so go! Just, go and represent me, with you there the branch house won’t dare to act too impudently. You don’t worry about the old madam, with me to back you up what are you afraid of? Even if I’m not here to back you, don’t you have the first madam?
The old madam had been talking about the your first madam’s stuffed eggplants for a couple of days now, and the farms have just sent in the latest produce and I just happen to see some very nice eggplants. Once the old lady had one or two of first madam’s famous stuffed eggplants, there’s no way she’d ever remember such trivial matters, right?”
Third Young Master Duan, who had just managed to crawl up to his feet, flopped down again at this shameless remark: He really had no idea how to describe this brother of his. Cunning was certainly one very apt descriptor, ah. No wonder second brother was bullied to the point of death. Though second brother was no good egg, and mostly had himself to blame for the scrapes he got into, why was he suddenly feeling sorry for that second brother of his?
In the end, Si Ping accepted the order to go. Duan Tingxuan turned to see Duan Tingfang still sitting near the doorway and looking nothing like a young master of a large house. He was about to reprimand this young man for his lack of class when Su Nuan Nuan’s words suddenly sneaked up on him. This third brother of his was a sensitive sort with an inferiority complex, he was supposed to treat him with tender warmth and encouraging words. Therefore, he swallowed the first and second burst of criticism down before clearing his throat, and said, “Third brother, it’s rare for us to meet like this, what are you doing down there? Come and sit on this chair, I promise it’s more comfortable here. Hua’er, go brew us a pot of tea, use that special oolong tea I brought over last time. Oh, and look through the kitchen and see if there are any new snacks made by your madam. I’m pretty hungry now. En, how was school? Were your teachers any good?”
As expected, the third young master was struck dumb by this ‘gentle and instructive’ elder brother.
Back to Su Nuan Nuan and her procession of second young miss, her two maids and Granny Zou. As the group stormed towards the branch house, they picked up several tails behind them, all of which she pretended not to noticed. However, when they reached the branch house, Su Nuan Nuan immediately pounced upon the first maid she saw coming out of the house and declared, “Go and inform the lady of this house to bring her servants out, I have a bone to pick with some of them.”
The maid was about to smile and deflect them with a few clever phrases, but a look at Su Nuan Nuan’s darkening face dried up the words in her mouth. She suddenly realized that the less she involve herself in these two titan’s fight, the better her chances of survival. Therefore, she quietly backed into the house to make her report, and was replaced by a widely smiling Ms. Shi who called out loudly, “Aiyoyo, what wind blew blew sister-in-law to my doorstep today? Come in, come in, my lord just gotten his hands on some very nice oolong tea, I’ll get the maids to make some so sister-in-law could try them too.”
“Oolong tea is it? Our lord brought a couple of packets back from the palace recently, said something about it being some top quality stuff. I’ve already tried it twice, it’s just some regular tea with a fancy name.” Su Nuan Nuan all but stuck out her tongue as she sneered, heheh! Want to compare precious things with me? You ought to know better than to try and one up against me, ah. No matter how rich or influential Second Young Master Duan was, how could he match up against Duan Tingxuan?
As expected, Ms. Shi’s smile froze, but then she gave another thrill of laughter and said, “That’s right, how rude of me. I should have known that elder brother being who he is, what good thing escapes his hand? But no matter, since sister-in-law is here, I can’t let you just stand around, do come in so we can chat…”
“No need, I am not here to drink tea with you. Someone nearly killed my cat, my heart was so devastated that I shed nearly two jars of tears… heh, now that I think about it, it sure was funny, right? But, little sister, you must surely understand my feelings, I heard that Zhao Chai took a bite out of your Persian cat the other day and you sent people over to Concubine Lin’s place to beat Zhao Chai to death. Unfortunately, my Zhao Chai had suffered even more than your cat. Little sister, as fellow pet lovers, you must surely understand the why I, as mistress, would demand justice for my cat? Otherwise how could I ever held my head high in this mansion? Don’t you think so?”
Shi Yu Rou really hadn’t expect Su Nuan Nuan to drum up so many support for the sake of a cat. Even more unexpected was that she was saying all these nonsense in front of so many witnesses. Was she not afraid of her words reaching old madam or elder madam’s ears? This… this is not right, ah. This is not the way inner court battle is done, ah. You really can’t use my dealings with Concubine Lin as precedent, ah. She’s a mere nobody who was ignored even by the servants, whereas I am a proper first wife of the legitimate son of the marquis, and am in charge of the household finances with Xu Ran Yun. Even if you want justice for your cat, surely you could have come to my doors on some trumped up excuses, right?
To say that you’re here because someone beat up your cat… what sort of game is this?
I don’t know how to play, ah.
[Gumihou: Looks like people who likes to battle in the dark didn’t like it when light shone upon their heads.]