Chapter 89: Enter the Palace
Translated by Gumihou
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On the heated kang bed, Old Madam Fang sipped the last of her noodles and sighed.
“Old Madam Fang’s palette is certainly amazing, just one taste and you realised it.” Qiu Ling said with a smile as she spoon more soft tofu for her. “When this maid was at Spring Breeze Court, first madam was just preparing to enter the palace. When she saw this one, without waiting for me to say anything, she immediately told me fetch the noodles she had especially made for old madam.
She regretted not sending more side dishes though she had planned to prepare noodles and side dishes for old madam, the lord marquis, elder madam and concubine Lin. The lord heir came back unexpectedly early with summons from the emperor. Therefore there was no choice but to leave quickly. Since there was not much made, naturally it was sent to old madam. Even the lord marquis did not have such luck. This maid quickly brought the noodles back before it became too plump and mushy to eat. If we were to wait until lunch time, the noodles won’t taste good anymore.”
The old madam leaned back with a satisfied sigh and gleefully said, “I thought that child would be angry at me and refused to send good dishes my way anymore. Who would have thought that child not only did not throw a fit, but still give me all kinds of good snacks to show her filial respect to me. Now that the kitchen situation was so unstable, I really don’t know how Su Nuan Nuan plans to resolve the situation. That’s right, do you know what the empress want with her?”
Qiu Ling said, “According to the master, her majesty’s appetite had been rather poor lately. It’s been a few days since her last proper meal, and thus Su Nuan Nuan was called to the palace to make something that might tempt her majesty.”
When Old Madam Fang heard about her daughter’s ill health, she put down her chopsticks and sighed, “Her majesty took after me, cursed with a body that fears the heat and likes the cold. However, I’ve never heard her complain all these years, why now?”
Qiu Ling smiled, “Old madam please be at ease, this one guessed that this year is special because we have a first madam in the house. The master himself must have suggested it.”
This reasoning made sense, Old Madam Fang immediately calmed down. Suddenly, she recalled something Qiu Ling had said, “That’s right, whenever you mention your first madam sent food out, you keep mentioning Concubine Lin’s name. Well? Are they very close?”
Qiu Ling laughed in response. “It’s not that she’s close to Concubine Lin, first madam is actually fairly close with the second young miss. Ever since second young miss started frequenting Spring Breeze Court, this maid heard that Concubine Lin herself had also visited twice. To be honest, ever since first madam returned, she treated them very well.”
Old Madam Fang had nothing to say to that. Concubine Lin used to be a her son’s concubine’s maid. She took advantage of Duan Ni’s drunken state to climb into his bed, which did not endear her to the family. Never mind that she had been sure that Lin had been incited by the concubine then. No one had bothered to confirm her suspicions, even Duan Ni saw this as a low point in his life and therefore rarely visited Concubine Lin. Who would have thought that this person’s belly would have the luck to bear two children. But, so what? Ever since that concubine died, this woman had turned into an invisible person due to her weak personality. Even the servants ignored her existence. If not for Su Nuan Nuan’s sudden change of heart, who knows what would have happened to these three mother and children.
After some time, Old Madam Fang sighed again, “That child, though she’s a bit on the wild side, she has a kind heart. Wu! Has the branch house stop trying to make trouble for her?”
Qiu Ling smiled, “After suffering such a loss, branch lady’s servants are naturally resentful, but none of them have the guts to retaliate. To be honest, they’re quite happy as long as first madam did not trouble them. Otherwise, if first madam really lost her temper, even Madam Min would be troubled.”
Old Madam Fang said, “Isn’t it so? Therefore, how could they say this child does not know the rules? Isn’t this quite well done?” with that, she slurped up the last of the noodles, patted her lips dry and said, “Very well, clear this away. Once the child is back, tell her to come over for a visit.”
Qiu Ling agreed. She knew that Old Madam Fang was actually quite concerned about her majesty’s health. Madam Fang was getting on in years and could not move about easily. Since her majesty could not leave the palace, the only thing these mother daughter pair had were memories, and news of each other.
… please read this at kitchennovel.com …
During this time, Su Nuan Nuan was currently standing just outside of the Kunning Palace, doing her best to process her shock.
The imperial family was really powerful, the empress palace alone covers nearly 1,000 acres of land. The architectural structures and designs here different from the ones Su Nuan Nuan remembered from the Forbidden City she had visited in her past life. It was actually even more amazing.
“By the emperor’s decree, we bade An Ping Marquis heir and his wife enter the palace.”
The eunuch’s high pitched voice shook Su Nuan Nuan from her daydreams. Duan Tingxuan’s hand tightened over her own, and she was more or less marched passed the huge doors into the imperial palace. Her first impression was of a long and wide road, jade white in colour and flanked by artfully placed stones mimicking mountains and hills. Green trees and red flowers were placed between the rocks, lending warmth to the cold white feel of rocks and white flagstones. The scene changed from rocks and trees to vermilion pillars. They passed gorgeously dressed palace maids, all young and at the first blush of youth. Their looks were good enough to become main characters of any modern TV dramas, but these beauties were all part of the background scene here. This made Su Nuan Nuan silently curse the imperial family for indulging in an unnecessarily luxurious lifestyle.
“Wait, aren’t we at the Kunning Palace? Why is there an emperor’s decree at the empress’ place?”
They were almost at their destination, Su Nuan Nuan finally came back to herself enough to comment, tugging at Duan Tingxuan’s hand. The man smiled at her and whispered, “Nuan Nuan, you just noticed? Isn’t it too late?”
Su Nuan Nuan’s cheeks flushed, and she said crossly, “I… I was just…” she was about to say that this was the first time she entered the imperial palace, but her mouth filter quickly stopped her and she hurriedly said, “I was just a little excited, so, so… reacted a bit late?”
“It’s fine if your reaction is lacking here, after this we’ll go to a small kitchen closes to this place. Just make sure to not be lacking there.” it’s rare to see his confident wife in such a predicament, Duan Tingxuan’s heart felt as sweet as though he had just eaten the best bowl of smoothie. As he leaned close to Su Nuan Nuan’s ear to laugh gently, the envious eyes of the palace maidens stabbed at her back as she was escorted in.
The moment they stepped past the ornately decorated doors, Su Nuan Nuan felt a little faint. There were seven people in total waiting for them, young and old, male and female, they looked nothing like what she had expected. Especially those piercing, expectant eyes. Having so many royal eyes staring holes into her body nearly scare the life out of her heart.
“Greetings to his majesty.”
Duan Tingxuan pulled Su Nuan Nuan down to kneel. However, before their knees touched the ground, the emperor laughed and said, “No need to be so formal,”
Duan Tingxuan straightened from his almost kneeling position and said, “At your majesty’s command.” before dragging Su Nuan Nuan up.
[Gumihou: It’s… it’s the emperor, what’s going to happened!!?]