Chapter 163: Testimony

 

Translated by Gumihou

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Hong Lian was shocked by the order, but then she quickly nodded and said, “Yes.” She knew that the master was really angry this time. From this day onwards, Concubine Jiang would not be able to personally bring up Duan Maochuan. This was certainly a great karmic retribution, ah. Didn’t Missy say something like this once? ‘Those who do not do, do not die[1]’. By bringing false charges against Missy, this woman was really courting disaster. How about that? Your end has come, though you might not die, this is a fate worse than death, isn’t it?

“No… please, no…” Concubine Jiang also realized Duan Tingxuan’s meaning, and her spirit nearly flew out of her body. She lunged forward and hugged Duan Maochuan tightly to her bosom, wailing, “If my lord really does not care whether we live or die, just strangle the two of us to death now, ah. Let us both go peacefully to death rather than splitting us up and letting the madam torment my child to death, wu wu wu…”

“Silence!” Duan Tingxuan’s eyes flash. He pointed at Concubine Jiang and said sternly, “Did you not hear what Imperial Physician Han said that day? If not for Su Nuan Nuan forcing Chuan’er to vomit out whatever was in his stomach, he would be dead now. Nuan Nuan did her absolute best to save Chuan’er. Who else but she would do this?

You keep calling yourself Chuan’er’s mother, but look at yourself. You can’t even tell good from bad, black from white. Not only that, what nonsense have you’ve been teaching Chuan’er? Lying and framing the innocent. You tell me now, what right do you have to bring up Chuan’er?”

At this, he turned towards Old Madam Fang and saluted her again, “That half a bowl of Snow Cream was a leftover when this grandson of yours came to Spring Breeze Court. I was almost burning with heavy thoughts and had a bowl of Snow Cream to relieve the heat in my heart. I only managed to eat half when a missive from the emperor came, demanding my return to the palace. In my hurry, the leftover bowl of Snow Cream was abandoned on the table. Su Nuan Nuan did not have the chance to have it put away when news of Mei Yue Lou catching fire caused her to panic and hurry away. Chuan’er arrived when there were only two inexperienced maids, Cong’er and Hua’er, there to admit him in. In their carelessness, he must have eaten the Snow Cream and drank the warm tea they offered. This was the root of all the trouble.”

He had just finished speaking when Shi Yurou quickly jumped in, “Elder brother is right. That day after I left old madam’s place, I went to visit Spring Breeze Court and just happened to see sister-in-law coming from Mei Yue Lou’s direction. It was only after I’d asked that I heard about the fire at Mei Yue Lou. I was about to ask for more details when Chuan’er suddenly ran out of the house. I even heard sister-in-law ask when he’d arrived, and why his other brothers did not come. It’s not like sister-in-law can see the future and predicted my arrival. Even if it was an act, everything can’t all be so coincidental.”

Shi Yurou really did not want to do this, but she knew that this was her final chance to play this card. Duan Tingxuan’s sudden return to especially involve himself in this matter meant that Concubine Jiang was finished. More importantly, little Duan Maochuan was too young. As long as Concubine Jiang was there to cry and scream, and prevent the child from being properly questioned, the show would probably have gone on as she wished. However, now that Duan Tingxuan has appeared on stage, her role was over. With just a little pressure from the little marquis, four-year-old Duan Maochuan would spill out his guts. When that happens, the information she held would be of no use. It’s better to step up now and earn good karma.

As if on cue, Liu Min said, “Child, if you knew this, why haven’t you said anything earlier?” This excellent mother-in-law of hers was sharp enough to assist her in giving her a chance to explain herself. After all, if you want to be a good person, be a good person all the way. Similarly, if you want to fake at being a good person, you must fake it till the end.

Shi Yurou quickly replied, “It was all such a muddle just now, and this daughter-in-law did not know head or tails of the matter. It wasn’t until elder brother brought up the Mei Yue Lou fire that I suddenly remembered it. Of course I must quickly reveal what I know.”

Duan Tingxuan gave her a glance, but did not say anything. He eyed Duan Maochuan once more and said slowly, “Chuan’er, have you completely forgotten father’s teachings? Why do you lie?”

“I…” Duan Maochuan’s frightened little face was stark white, and his body would not stop shaking, until even Su Nuan Nuan could not bear it. She was about to step forward when Duan Tingxuan stopped her with a look. She sighed, but did not allow the plea to leave her lips.

“I… I’m not lying…” Duan Maochuan’s voice was shaking so hard that they could barely hear what he was saying.

His father’s eyes narrowed, and when he spoke, Duan Tingxuan’s voice was wintry cold. “Even your second aunt has already given her testimony. Still won’t repent?”

“I… I…” Duan Maochuan’s little face flushed red, then drained white again. Suddenly, with a loud [wah!] he burst into tears. As he cried and sobbed, he kept wailing, “Don’t… don’t kill concubine mother, wu wu wu… don’t kill mother…”

“Just what have you said to Chuan’er?”

Duan Tingxuan glared at Concubine Jiang. His eyes nearly spitting fires. As a father, he knew his third son’s personality all too well. Unless Concubine Jiang had used some terrible threats to frighten him, the child would not have kept his silence until now. He’s already in tears, and yet still refused to speak.

Seeing her son fall apart like this cut into Concubine Jiang like a knife to her flesh. She reached for Duan Maochuan and said bitterly, “My lord, please don’t force the child anymore. I’ll admit it. I admit it all. I made him lie. I told him that if he did not lie, he and I will die. That’s why he refuses to speak. If my lord wishes to punish us, this lowly concubine admits everything. Only, only, this one begs for my lord’s mercy. Chuan’er is still so little, if you give him to first madam, my little boy will be tormented to death.” She burst into noisy tears again.

“This is absolutely disgraceful.” Old Madam Fang was so angry that her whole body trembled. She was about to order people to drag Concubine Jiang away to be severely disciplined when Su Nuan Nuan said, “Old madam, do calm down. Though Concubine Jiang’s way of doing things is not right, she still did it for Chuan’er’s sake. Why don’t you overlook the matter this time?”

“I don’t need you to plead leniency for me. Hypocrite, a cat fake crying over a mouse…” Concubine Jiang raised her head to glare at Su Nuan Nuan.

She had not finished her complaints when Su Nuan Nuan suddenly whirled around to glare at her. This time, anger burned in her eyes as she pointed angrily at the woman, “Shut up! Whether my mercy is fake or not, it’s not up to you to judge me. Do you imagine yourself as some sort of good person? In order to harm me you’ve actually forced your own child to lie. Do you think this is good for the child? You think that just knocking your head bloody makes you a good mother?

Fool! You’re a fool who is not even aware that you’ve been made into someone else’s spear. Why do you think I’m speaking for you? You think I care whether you live or die? If not for your genuine feelings as a mother, I’d have left you to your fate. Even now you still want to flap your vicious mouth. If you have the time, why don’t you knock on your empty head some more and better yourself for Chuan’er.”

No one would have imagined that Su Nuan Nuan, who had been calm through the entire affair would suddenly lose her temper like this. Even Concubine Jiang was shocked. Her lips flapped a few times, but for once, no words came out.

 

[Gumihou: Sighhhhh…. idiots to the enddd…..]

 

 

[1] Those who do not do, do not die – It’s actually a bastardised version of an internet slang: No Zhuo No Die – Literally, ‘No do, no die’. It means, those who do not provoke others, would not suffer the consequences.

 

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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

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