Chapter 21: Picking a concubine for xiangye
嬷嬷 mama – an older female servant
奴婢 nubi – slave servant girl; often used by servants speaking to their masters
老奴 laonu – old slave
丫头 yatou/ 丫鬟 yahuan – servant girl
妹妹 meimei – younger sister;
姐姐 jiejie – elder sister; can be added to names to show respect or a close relationship;
夫人 furen – legitimate wife, missus;
小姐 xiaojie – young miss; usually from a good family, but can be used to refer to any young girl
姨娘 yiniang – concubine, not the legitimate wife; added to the end of the maternal name to show their (lower) status compared to the wife
“furen, these days, san xiaojie has been diligently visiting Qi Luo Yuan! It looks like Liu yiniang is determined to side with da xiaojie!” Wang mama analyzed unkindly while lightly massaging Su Qing’s shoulders.
“Hmph, it’s best that they stick together. When the moment comes, I’ll take care of those sluts in one fell swoop!” Su Qing threw her embroidery onto the table and squinted her eyes, the corners of her mouth exhibiting a cold smile, “mama, did you manage to find those people?”
When Su Qing mentioned that, Wang mama immediately lowered her head and leaned closer to Su Qing’s ear before she whispered, “Don’t worry, furen! laonu has properly arranged everything! As soon as furen’s confinement ends, we can hit them when they are least prepared!”
“Mum, what are you both talking about?” Before Su Qing had time to respond, the cotton curtains at the door were pulled aside. Wearing a full set of winter clothes, Yun Ruo Xue angrily stormed unannounced into the room!
“My xiaojie, such a cold day, why didn’t you stay in your own room? If you were to catch a cold, then it won’t be good!” As a draft of cold air entered the warm room, Wang mama hurriedly went to support Yun Ruo Xue and poured her a cup of hot tea to let her warm up her body.
Seeing that Yun Ruo Xue’s small face didn’t look rosy as before, Su Qing tenderly pulled her tiny hands and enclosed them in her own palms to warm them. She shot a fierce glare at the few servants behind Yun Ruo Xue and coldly scolded them, “You should know that it’s cold out. Why didn’t you prepare a warming stove for xiaojie? If xiaojie is nipped by the cold, can you shoulder the responsibility?”
The few servants, frightened by Su Qing’s query, immediately kneeled on the floor, not daring to speak up or beg for forgiveness!
When Yun Ruo Xue saw her own servants’ cowardly expressions, the anger displayed on her face increased. She said unhappily, “What are you expecting from them? When I got grounded for a few days, they’re secretly thinking about how to mock me in their hearts!”
After she spoke, she glared fiercely at the shaking figures of the scared servants!
Wang mama saw that both her zhuzi were angry and quickly moved beside the servants, slapping each of them once. She then scolded, “What are you still doing here? Get out and serve!”
After getting beaten and scolded, they felt extremely wronged, but, they didn’t dare to utter a sound and only silently stood up to hurriedly leave.
“Mum, I heard some servants gossiping that Qi Luo Yuan just recently gained a lot of new servants!” Now that only her mother and Wang mama were left in the room, Yun Ruo Xue grumbled with disatisfaction, “What’s so special about that Yun Qian Meng? That kind of person who was born under an unlucky star, does she really need so many people to serve her? Isn’t she pushing her luck too much?”
Still complaining, Yun Ruo Xue lifted the teacup off the table and took a few thirsty gulps!
Su Qing was naturally happy to see her own daughter. She held out a hand to stroke the hair that had fallen beside Yun Ruo Xue’s ears and said, “Let her be happy for a few days! Watch how mother will get revenge for you!”
Finishing, Su Qing’s eyes revealed an ominous glint. Yun Ruo Xue, who saw this, went wild with joy. Immediately throwing aside her teacup, she burrowed into Su Qing’s bosom and coyly said, “Mum, could it be that you already have a plan? Let me know so that I can share the happinees!”
Hugging Yun Ruo Xue, Su Qing’s vicious expression slightly dissipated, replaced with a faintly gentle smile. Patting Yun Ruo Xue’s back with one hand, she softly said, “Your mum and Wang mama have prepared some presents for Qi Luo Yuan, only afraid that they don’t have the courage to accept!”
When Yun Ruo Xue heard the word presents, her faintly smiling face turned gloomy. She somewhat angrily pushed away Su Qing’s hug and said with an awkward expression, “After she treated us like that, mum still wants to send her presents? Mum, you can’t really be scared of her, right? The Empress Dowager might be her maternal aunt, but our Su family aren’t vegetarians either! You should know, on my way here, I saw from a distance that Liu yiniang was bringing a dozen or more pretty young girls to Qi Luo Yuan! Say, what’s the meaning of her sending people there all the time?”
Hearing this, Su Qing exchanged a look with Wang mama and couldn’t help but feel curious. Obviously, quite a few people had just been added to Qi Luo Yuan. Why was Liu Han Yu sending people to Yun Qian Meng again in just a few days?
Thinking carefully about this, Su Qing grimly asked, “Xue’er, did you see clearly? Were there any pozi mixed in?”
Yun Ruo Xue saw that Su Qing was serious and momentarily forgot her own anger. Carefully recalling what she saw just now, she confirmed, “All of them were yatou, even more so, they were personally brought to Qi Luo Yuan by Liu yiniang! Mum, is something wrong?”
Yet Su Qing only smiled without answering, her gentle eyes flashing with a viper-like killing intent. Pulling Yun Ruo Xue over, she explained closely to her ears……
“da xiaojie, nubi is here to pay respects!” Before the person could even be seen, her voice resounded!
Liu yiniang was wearing a violet-red cloak, both her hands hidden in snow white rabbit-fur mittens. With an escort of many servant girls, she ignored the cold and advanced to Yun Qian Meng’s pavilion at a fast pace.
Fang mama and Bai mama who were serving outside immediately pulled the door curtains aside and let Liu yiniang enter. Instead, Mi mama, who was inside, took her coat and carefully hung it at one side.
“Has da xiaojie been well these days?” Liu yiniang asked cheerfully as she bowed towards the slightly reclined Yun Qian Meng.
Yun Qian Meng put away her book and looked at Liu yiniang’s glowing face with watery eyes before she laughed lightly, “yiniang came, please sit! Such a cold day, even I am feeling lazy. Perhaps only yiniang can be so diligent!”
Liu Han Yu sat down with a smile and earnestly sized up Yun Qian Meng’s appearance. Looking at her snow-white skin, both cheeks glowing with a faint red blush, she could see that Yun Qian Meng was now living quite well. Relieved, Liu Han Yu then said, “The color of xiaojie’s face is much better than before! Only, winter is coming. nubi saw that da xiaojie’s clothes are already old, so I decided to get the Jiangnan tailors to send some people over to take your measurements in the next few days and make a few extra sets of winter clothes! laoye actually also cares for xiaojie and let nubi pick a few healthful goods from the storehouse to send over, to let xiaojie nourish your body!”
As she spoke, one of her servants quietly went out. After just a moment, a few pozi carried in a wooden box and opened it to reveal that it was completely filled with ginseng and other nourishing items!
Liu yiniang immediately stood up and picked up the various items as she eagerly explained them to Yun Qian Meng!
Smiling while she looked at the things Liu yiniang held, Yun Qian Meng understood. This Liu yiniang was also a clever person, shortly within a week or so, she had managed to rein in Yun Xuan Zhi’s temper and his habits. Otherwise, how could she easily take things out from the storehouse? The only thing was that she couldn’t compete at Su Qing’s level!
Still, seeing Liu yiniang tout the benefits of those valuable items, Yun Qian Meng knew that that she had more than just one reason when she came over to visit!
Giving Mi mama a look, Yun Qian Meng smiled and interrupted Liu Han Yu, “Walking all the way here, Liu yiniang must be tired, have some tea to drink first!”
Liu Han Yu knew that Yun Qian Meng had already seen through the fact that she had other business and put the items down. Smiling as she sat, she swept a measuring gaze across the people in the room, before she finally said, relieved, “da xiaojie, coming today, nubi has some matters to discuss with you!”
Yun Qian Meng took a sip of tea, then slowly lifted her eyes and smiled, “What matters?”
Liu yiniang slightly stretched forward. Her charming face leaned close to Yun Qian Meng, but her eyes turned to look towards the door, “da xiaojie, the fu only has two people, nubi and Su yiniang, to serve xiangye. With only you and two other xiaojie, it’s hard for the fu to avoid appearing empty! nubi thinks, should it be good to let xiangye receive a few more concubines?”
Finishing, Liu Han Yu’s lovely and gentle eyes somewhat nervously looked directly at Yun Qian Meng……
Yet Yun Qian Meng only grasped a thin handkerchief to wipe the tea stains on the edges of her lips and calmly asked, “Is yiniang sincere about this?”