Chapter 134: Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Translated by Gumihou
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“Duan Tingxuan, you may give whatever excuse you like. Call me bossy and domineering. Say that I pester you endlessly, whatever, I don’t care. It’s true that those women wanted to live. It’s not wrong to think that way, is there anyone in this world who really wants to die? Even if they wanted to throw their lot with the enemy to survive, that’s not wrong either. They’re just slaves, it’s not like they could do anything too treasonous to the country.”
Since it looked like the soft touch wasn’t working, Su Nuan Nuan stuck her hands to her waist and threw out her best violent shrew impression. This little marquis was normally amenable to coaxing but not coercion, but this might be the better tactic this time?
“Since it’s just a few slaves, why do you care so much?” Duan Tingxuan gave a bitter laughed. From the environment he grew up in, he really couldn’t understand transmigrator Su Nuan Nuan’s point of view.
“Those aren’t just a few slaves, those are people’s lives. Living people.” Su Nuan Nuan said, the edge of her eyes glimmering with unshed tears. “You’re the master and they’re only slaves, but the reality is that everyone have only this one life to live. They too have feelings, and family. They have no intention to sell out anyone, they just want to continue living. Every living thing in this world seeks survival. Sister Jing said that she wished to pay you back with her life for saving her back then. As the heir’s wife, I would have been given a proper burial with all the dignity, pomp and a team of mourners. But these women have no such privilege. They would be lucky to be buried in a mass grave…”
“Alright, alright, alright…” Duan Tingxuan’s iron heart softened at the sight of his wife’s shining eyes, he quickly rushed forward to wipe her tears and sighed. “You keep insisting on saving them, but have you ever thought of what happens next? Even if I were to spare them, what their future would be like? The punishment for abandoning their master is death, on top of that they intended to beg the enemy to spare their lives. Once back at the mansion they would be criticized to death. There would be no way for them to escape what they have done, this is not something that you or I could suppress.”
Su Nuan Nuan sank into deep thought: That’s true, words have a way of killing people without blades. These women’s momentary weakness might well haunt them for the rest of their lives. However, Su Nuan Nuan did not hesitate, her voice was perfectly decisive, “No matter what, I don’t want them to die.”
“Fine, once we’re back to the mansion, I can still send them away to work at the farmstead. This is as much as I can do, the rest is beyond my power.”
Duan Tingxuan spread out his hands. When his wife smiled, he shook head and sighed, “It’s just a few slaves, must you be so happy??”
“It’s not just the slaves. I never thought I’d ever hear you say the words ‘beyond my power’, and here I thought the little marquis is all powerful.” Su Nuan Nuan’s smile was like the blooming of spring flowers, her beauty seemed to be amplified under that smile.
Duan Tingxuan felt his heart in his throat, and his heart was thundered away rapidly. A certain part of him was beginning to stir too. This plucky, foodie wife of his looked as foxy as a vixen, her beauty was just too alluring. So much so that he felt like he couldn’t look at her directly. Even when Xue Zhi Lan played the rare, bold seductress to provoke his lust, he never felt nearly as out of control over his own physical reactions.
He quickly turned his head away from the succubus in front of him and took a deep breath. When he felt like he had better control over himself, he said, “Am I an immortal? Even immortals aren’t all powerful.”
“Alright, whatever, let’s talk business.”
Su Nuan Nuan had sensed the odd atmosphere just now, but she never guessed just how precarious Duan Tingxuan’s hold on his self-control was. She grinned happily to herself, unknowingly turning into a tease. At this rate, Duan Tingxuan became further convinced that her original spirit was most probably a succubus. Which was just too unfair, ah.
Though it was getting rather late, neither felt sleepy, so they spent some time leaning against the headboard talking to each other. When he heard all the things they and the monks had done to keep the enemy at bay, Duan Tingxuan’s eyes nearly popped out: Was his wife even human? While facing these fierce bandits and not knowing whether she will live or die the next day, she still has the mood to make Flat Stone Cakes? Wu! From the descriptions alone, thin watery flour on stones so hot that it cooked in a flash, it really made his mouth water.[Gu du] The little marquis swallowed. He stared down seriously at his wife and said solemnly. “This Flat Stone Cake of yours, once we’re back at the mansion, you must make it for us to eat. I will get some people to move a few pieces of smooth white marble into Spring Breeze Court later.”
“Why white marble? Is there something wrong with your brain? If you’re really keen on this just get some craftsmen to make a flat bottom pot is fine, you know?” Su Nuan Nuan rolled her eyes, “This is actually something similar to pancakes. It’s only especially tasty under these unusual circumstances. If you want it so much, I can make a few hundred pieces and string them into a necklace for you to nibble on.”
“I’m not quite that lazy.” Duan Tingxuan smiled happily. “But your suggestion for a flat bottom pot is not bad, I shall get the fourth prince to get right on it.”
At this happy news, Su Nuan Nuan cheered up considerably. It was then that someone called out softly, “Elder brother.” To which Duan Tingxuan said, “It’s Tingye, who knows what he wants with me. It’s almost daylight, try to get some sleep.”
Su Nuan Nuan whispered back, “That’s right. I almost forgot to ask you, how did Tingye arrive so quickly? Even earlier than you?”
Duan Tingxuan spread out his hands, “How should I know? I expect that grandmother must have gone back to the mansion first and he immediately came over after getting the news.”
“No, what I meant is, since when did he become so proactive? Isn’t he and that sister-in-law of yours… you know… against us…?” Su Nuan Nuan’s eyebrows rose, as she looked up at Duan Tingxuan. “You know what I mean.”
Of course Duan Tingxuan knew, he shook his head and smiled, “I’m puzzled by this too. Perhaps he was struck by conscience? Or perhaps you still have some value to him. After all, the restaurants and cake shops raked in an incredible amount of business. If you have more of such incredible recipes, it would be a pity if you died, right?”
“This explanation makes sense.” Su Nuan Nuan nodded. “According to your estimation of those pair, they’ve probably fed their conscience to the dogs. And dogs definitely won’t leave even a shred for them to keep.”
Duan Tingxuan sighed, “Well… they… might not actually… be so bad…”
“Unless your estimation is wrong…” Su Nuan Nuan raised her eyebrows.
“No, my estimation is of course, spot on. Therefore, they are really black-bellied, evil, and a bad lot.” Duan Tingxuan immediately put on a righteous expression. Naturally, this was the time to make himself look good, even if there were some parts of this second brother was somewhat white, he must still paint it as black as he could.
After throwing down this terrible remark, this heartless older brother went out to meet the younger brother. Duan Tingye just happened to be standing in a pool of moonlight in a large overcoat, at the sight of his older brother, he forced a stiff smile and came over, “I… that is, I hope I haven’t interrupted brother in anything? How is sister-in-law? Aside from the bruises, is she alright?”
“No, she’s fine. Thank you for your concern. It’s already so late, why aren’t you asleep? What do you want me for?” Duan Tingxuan’s own conscience had clearly been fed to the dogs too, but apparently he still has some dregs of it left, at least enough to be pricked by some guilt after bad mouthing this brother of his.
“Oh, nothing much. I was just here to check up on brother and sister-in-law. I’m a little worried since she has suffered such a major shock today.” Duan Tingye stammered, his eyes darted about, settling nowhere.
“If you have something to say, just say it. It’s not like you could hide your intentions from me.” Duan Tingxuan said coldly. His disdain for his brother’s IQ obvious.
“Ever since sister-in-law returned from Mei Yue Lou, brother, you’ve become even more annoying. Has anyone at court ever said that they want to beat your face in with a stick?” Duan Tingye said with a scowl. He had originally thought that this two-faced brother of his was annoying enough. To think that he could up that level and become even more annoying. This ‘honest’ brother of his really made him want to break something, preferably that smug arrogant nose. Not that he would actually be able to do it, ah.
“Whether someone at court wants to beat me up, I wouldn’t know. I only know that if I want to beat you up, I only need one finger to do it.” Duan Tingxuan too was losing his temper. When did this hypocritical brother of his started to spout these too honest words? Moreover, it’s all unpleasant honesty. Was he itching to get beaten up?
“I really have no other business. I’m here to ask after sister-in-law’s condition. If she had suffered any major injury, I plan to send someone down to the mountain to fetch a physician.” Duan Tingye’s expression smoothed out as he played the role of concerned younger brother-in-law.
“There’s no need, your sister-in-law is fine. If there’s anything serious, I’d have sent for the imperial physician.” Duan Tingxuan sniffed at his brother’s ‘concern’. “Well, is that all? If that’s all, please go away.”
“Well, it’s just… my mother and Yurou were frightened and confused by the situation, and went with grandmother leaving sister-in-law here alone. They kept thinking about the matter and couldn’t rest easy…” Duan Tingye lowered his head, finally revealing his true concerns. The one he was most worried for was his own wife and mother.
Duan Tingxuan rolled his eyes and sneered. “I knew you weren’t actually all that altruistic. You’re really afraid that old madam and the lord marquis would punish Madam Min and your family. Heheh, I can’t help you there, you should know that this was all their own doing. No one forced them into anything.”
“The situation then was very tense, they were only…” Duan Tingye stammered, trying to think up a reasonable explanation, but he really didn’t know what to say: In the end, no matter what he said, the reality was that his wife and mother loved their own lives enough to abandon Su Nuan Nuan behind. If this news were to get around, who knows how the rest of the family would feel? Naturally, they would praise the heir’s wife for her noble character and sense of justice, but condemn the marquis’ secondary wife and daughter-in-law for being cowards.
Moreover, Duan Tingxuan was not someone easily fooled. Which was why Duan Tingye found it difficult to open his mouth. He also knows that this elder brother of his disliked his blood mother. How was he to set down this big rock he had just picked up without injuring himself? If this news reached his father, the lord might be displeased with mother and drift apart from her.
As he continued to think, nothing appropriate came to mind. Of course, Duan Tingxuan was not going to help this brother of his out, he still could not forgive everything Liu Min had done against himself and his mother with just these few stammered words.
[Gumihou: Oh no, my Tingye baby is going to be bullied again. This man slut is too merciless, ah]
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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