Chapter 122: Live How I Want To

 

Translated by Gumihou

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“Who should stay back? Need you even ask? The one most suitable to stay back should be you, sister. As the household manager for all matters, large and small, you’re exactly the person they need here. The people who stayed back would need someone calm and capable to reassure them and to take charge of the situation.” Su Nuan Nuan sneered back: You still dare to mock and ridicule me at times like this? Are you trying to die? Tsk, tsk, how selfless of you, does Duan Tingxuan knows that his secondary wife is someone so kindhearted that she bordered on stupid?

Xu Ran Yun went white. It was then that she realized what a huge mistake she had made. Her hatred for Su Nuan Nuan had gone to her head, causing her to forget that she was dealing with the official wife. How easy it would be for the official wife to pinch out the life of a secondary wife? Moreover, she was the one who stuck out her neck first.

How could she have forgotten this crucial fact?

“Sis… sister… I was just joking, I… I really can’t bear this responsibility,” Xu Ran Yun’s face was stark white. The smile she managed to force on her face was uglier than if tears had rolled down her face. “Sister is not wrong, second miss is a precious daughter of the family. We really musn’t leave her behind, what if she’s disgraced.. our family name would be ruined. But, as it happens, Concubine Jing had been doing a rather good job handling household matters…”

Xu Ran Yun knew she had to find some scapegoat, otherwise Su Nuan Nuan would really leave her here. After desperately calculating her options, she finally settled on Concubine Jing as the most suitable piece to sacrifice. No matter what, she was still the daughter of an earl, no matter how well this violent shrew got along with Concubine Jing, there was no way she would not give face…

“I will stay. You all go back.”

Su Nuan Nuan sighed, regret filling her chest: Is this the extent of Xu Ran Yun’s cleverness? Didn’t she knew that if the first madam were to insist, there was no way she could resist? Too bad, it looked like this is the extent of your cleverness and moral strength.

“You? Stay?”

Everyone’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. No matter how Madam Yang disapproved of this daughter-in-law, she couldn’t help yelling, “Nonsense! How could you stay? Just… just what position are you in? What if you’re attacked by those… those…”

“Save your words. If the bandits broke into the temple, I shall commit suicide.” Su Nuan Nuan withdraw a dagger from her waist with an audible swish. Light glanced of the blade, shining across Madam Yang’s figure. She said calmly, “This dagger is a gift from my lord. He had taught me some kungfu this past few months. Though it is mostly some impractical skill, I am deft enough with a knife to make sure the deed is done properly. If I’m lucky, I should be able to bring one or two bandits down with me.”

For a moment, not a single sound was heard within that large courtyard. Everyone had been shocked silly by Su Nuan Nuan’s action: They all knew that this first madam was an amazing person, but they really had underestimated how amazing she really was. For her to talk about taking her own life so lightly… everyone knew about her generosity and benevolence, but never thought that her benevolence would reached this level. For the sake of a second young miss, who could not possibly hope to compare in terms of social status, she would be willing to die in her place?

“Sister-in-law, I’m not leaving this place. You must go. Just give me the dagger. If those bad people come at me, I’ll just slit my throat.”

Duan Xinqi let go of her mother’s hand to tug tearfully at Su Nuan Nuan’s sleeves, “Sister-in-law… just leave me here. This past few months with you have made me really happy, I’m already at the peak of my happiness.”

“Stupid melon[1], life is very beautiful. You’re a budding flower who hasn’t even experience life yet. So, how could you just give it up so soon? Be at ease, this sister-in-law of yours knows kungfu, so I’ll be fine. Enough, let’s stop with all this dog blood[2] drama. The sun is about to set, the moment we don’t see the sun, everyone must leave.”

As Su Nuan Nuan wiped Duan Xinqi’s eyes, she saw Concubine Jing stepped forward from the crowd of people. With a beautiful smile Concubine Jing said, “Madam, this servant is one who should have been dead many years ago. If not for the lord’s kindness in rescuing me from that pit of hell, my bones would have been dust. That fateful day, he spent 20,000 silver teals on this servant, an amount of money this one could never hope to repay. So, how could this one be so shameless as to insist on taking the place of someone so much more precious? Madam, you leave with second miss. You must be there to safeguard her future. Let this servant stay. This servant has no particular skill, only the courage not to shy away from death.”

“I cannot leave, if they knew we’ve all left, they might not bother with the temple anymore and spend every effort chasing us down instead. If that were to happen, we would all be in danger. Someone important must stay at the temple in order to at least split their forces of make them hesitate in order to give the fleeing party a fighting chance to get to the Capital alive.”

Su Nuan Nuan said all this in a low voice. In truth, she was not at all that selfless. However, she was clear minded to see up to this point, which was the true reason why she had decided to stay. After all, she was the true person who ‘should be dead by now’. She really had died. The fact that she was able to spend these extra time enjoying delicious food and a comfortable life was grace enough from the heavens.

Concubine Jing was stunned by her explanation, but then her smile returned, and she said, “That year when the lord spent those money on this servant, he suffered a lot of ridicule for it. At the very least, if this servant is to stay by madam’s side, it may reduce some of that ridicule, if only a little. Please give my place to Concubine Lin. As second miss’ blood mother, she will be a great comfort to the child in the future.”

“No… sister-in-law, concubine mother, I don’t want to go…”

Duan Xinqi began to cry again. By now the servants had been shaken to the core by all this display. Even the abbot could only nod thoughtfully to himself as he chanted sutras under his breath for Buddha’s protection.

Suddenly, the door behind them opened, and Old Madam appeared. She was being escorted by Duan Tingfang. The servants quickly moved away, opening a path for her. When she reached the area where Madam Yang and the rest were gathered, she stopped, and said in a no nonsense tone, “You all go. If it’s for the sake of distraction, my status outweighs all of you. Moreover, I am but an old bag of bones with one foot in the grave. There’s no need to preserve my life while young girls perish in my stead. It’s foolishness to throw young life away to preserve the old and dying.”

When Madam Yang heard this, she paled and dropped to her knees. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Old madam, you musn’t, you absolutely musn’t! If we all leave while you stay, how would we face life? Old madam musn’t…”

“What is the time now? Still trying to fake filial affections? What happened to your survival instinct from just now? Enough talk, just leave. This is my command, if you dare to disobey you will be dishonoured as unfilial ingrates. Still dare to face life after that?”

“Old madam…”

Madam Yang dared not speak anymore, but refused to get off her knees. No matter what, she dared not leave Old Madam Fang here and escape on her own.

“Old madam, please don’t make things difficult for them.”

Su Nuan Nuan gave a bitter laugh and came forward to hold Old Madam Fang’s hand. The old lady huffed, and turned her head away, “Are you planning to disobey me too? It makes sense for me to stay, I don’t believe that you can’t see that.”

“Yes, when it comes to status and age alone, old madam, you certainly are the most qualified…”

“You bad creature! Just what nonsense are you speaking?” Madam Yang cut in before Su Nuan Nuan could finish. She really couldn’t believe that the daughter-in-law who had insisted on sacrificing herself for the rest of them had suddenly turned into this poisonous viper in a flash.

Su Nuan Nuan ignored her and continued, “But, old madam, we are not just talking about status or age here. Surely you understand that filial piety is as good as a hundred good deeds? Just think about it. If you’re the daughter or granddaughter-in-law, would you really leave your elder to die while fleeing with your life on the excuse that they’re too weak and old?

If you can’t do it, surely you can understand why this daughter and granddaughter-in-law of yours can’t do it either? Old madam, the sun is about to set. We really cannot spend more time debating over this. You must lead everyone to safety. If you still remain stubborn here with me, nobody would be able to safely escape.”

“But…” Old Madam Fang knew that Su Nuan Nuan was making perfect sense. She was so angry that she stomped her feet and said, “So you won’t even give this old lady a chance? How could you let this old lady miss out a chance to be heroic? The words you and Concubine Jing said just now was too inspiring, why won’t you let this old lady try her hand at it?”

“Don’t you dare.” Su Nuan Nuan feigned a light laughed. “We were just being unnecessarily dramatic. In truth, since there martial monks here, those bandits won’t be able to break in so easily. By dragging out the time a little, the lord will surely be in time to rescue us. Otherwise, why would I be so daring as to volunteer to stay? Do you think I’m really all that altruistic?”

“This child…”

Of course Old Madam Fang knew that Su Nuan Nuan was in fact, really that altruistic. These words were spoken in order to reassure this old lady. Her heart suffused with warmth and she really did not know what to say. That was when Duan Tingfang spoke up. “Sister-in-law, please go with grandmother. As a man, I can’t have you face death while I run away with my life. As long as you can let concubine mother and second sister safely leave this place, even if I am cast down to the nine hells, I will still be grateful to you. ”

“What nonsense is this? Third brother, don’t forget. You’re a man of the An Ping household. You might face even more danger on the road than here. When that time comes the ladies only have you to depend on. You think I’m letting you escape your duties? Wrong, you’re absolutely wrong, I am giving you the ultimate responsibility, perhaps the most important responsibility in your life thus far. Third brother, the lives of old madam and madam are in your hands, don’t let your elder brother down, don’t let down the An Ping name.”

Su Nuan Nuan stared at him as she spoke, her voice serious, until Duan Tingfang backed down without a word. The abbot and the a few of the martial monks looked on, their hearts moved by this wonderful display of courage, filial piety and familial bonds. When it looked like no one was about to protest anymore, the abbot stepped forward, “Amitabha, old madam, please be assured. This humble monk have many people within this temple, we shall all do our utmost best to protect the lord heir’s wife.”

When journey down the mountain was about to begin, another festival of tears started. Needless to say, Su Nuan Nuan displayed incredible resolved, no matter how much Concubine Lin, Duan Xinqi and the rest pleaded and begged, she firmly ordered Xu Ran Yun, Xue Zhi Lan and the rest of the ladies to more or less manhandle the tearful women into the carriages. The abbot picked out over a dozen of their strongest martial monks to escort the carriage, and finally, the carriage departed. Luckily, though the other carriages had been damaged, most of the horses had escaped injury and readily came when called by the horse handlers. The villagers in nearby hamlets also kept horses, and though they were not especially good breeds, it was a relief to have them.

The log and stone roadblock had been removed. When nearby villages heard that the house of An Ping wanted the roadblocks removed no matter what, and would bear all consequences of the loss or damage of the precious logs and stones, the farmers felt like a great meat pie had just fallen onto their laps. They swarmed like locusts over the roadblocks. After all, even if the emperor wished to punish someone, the house of An Ping had already given their word to bear all consequences. With the An Ping house’s backing, surely their benevolent emperor would not bother to rain down his wrath upon their small heads?

Thus, they left their homes armed en mass, armed with hammers and pickaxes. The huge rocks and hardwood trees were soon broken down within four hours. Since no one was greedy enough to hoard all the precious wood and stones by themselves, the wood and stones were broken into easily transferred pieces and shared out among the villages.

It was quite a sight to see the gleeful villagers hurry away with their loot.

 

 

Author White Pear Flower: I know that some people imagine that Nuan Nuan is a saint, but I don’t think so. She is a courageous, kindhearted, decisive person who could be summed with the words: Live How I Want To. Perhaps, if I were to face the same situation as Nuan Nuan, I won’t have the same courage, but that won’t stop me from making difficult decision. Because I truly respect courage tempered with kindness, and that a person with this kind of character is a treasure indeed.

 

 

[Gumihou: Ms. White Pear Flower certainly put a lot of thought into this chapter]

 

 

[1] 傻瓜- ‘sha gua’ – is correctly interpreted as idiot or fool, but since the first word means ‘stupid’, and the second ‘melon’, I thought it would be a cuter nickname for small children and those you’re affectionate with.

Observe:

Idiot, don’t you know how much I love you?

Vs

Stupid Melon, don’t you know how much I love you?

Lol, just some inane thoughts going through Gumihou’s head at 11pm, ahahahahaha…

 

[2] 狗血- ‘gou xie’ – literally ‘dog blood’, but the correct interpretation is melodramatic or contrived. But, isn’t ‘dog blood’ more interesting? It’s basically vernacular by now within #ChineseLightnovels, lol!

 

 

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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

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