Chapter 50: The old madam sorts out Su Qing
孙少爷 sun shaoye – grandson; young master
婶娘 shenniang – aunt, wife of father’s brother
弱冠 ruo guan – boys have this coming of age ceremony and are considered adults at the age of 20
及笄 jiji – hairpin ceremony, girls pass a hairpin through their hair when they reach the marriageable age at 15
步摇 buyao – a head ornament was named after the swaying motion it makes when the person wearing it walks
When the busybodies saw Rong Yun He appear, they immediately dispersed, appearing to be somewhat afraid of him.
But Rong Yun He didn’t seem to mind. At the moment, his gaze was fixed on Yun Qian Meng’s body. He only felt that this girl was extremely familiar. Even more eye-catching was the air around her body, carrying a trace of mystery!
In particular, while everyone was keeping away from him, the girl before him didn’t hesitate before she stepped into the main doors of Tian Fu Lou. With just this, Rong Yun He already couldn’t help but sit up and take notice!
“Mu Chun, why don’t you let go?” Yun Qian Meng stepped forward but did not immediately talk to Rong Yun He, instead asking her maid to let go!
Only, Mu Chun’s hands had already siezed the greater half of the paper box, how could she be willing to just give up? She pouted her lips and said softly, “xiaojie, this guy is snatching it from us! nubi already stood here for four hours, but didn’t see him line up……”
“You won’t even listen to me anymore? How did you learn your usual manners?” However, Yun Qian Meng simply did not listen to her explanation. A cold glance flashed under the veil, making Mu Chun let go obediently.
The young manservant immediately hugged the paper box with a pleased expression, looking towards Mu Chun with a smug look in his eyes!
Yet even though Mu Chun was scolded in front of everyone, she didn’t display any feelings of being wronged. Instead, she obediently retreated behind Yun Qian Meng’s back. Her sudden change in expression was too huge, even the young manservant momentarily believed that he had seen wrongly!
Rong Yun He took everything into his eyes. An odd look floated across his icy-cold eyes when he took firm steps down the staircase. Walking behind the young manservant, he spoke in a calm but assertive voice, “Give the pastries back to this xiaojie!”
Si’er momentarily couldn’t respond. He even raised his hands to forcefully pull his own ear, and shook his round head around. Still unwilling to give up, he asked, “lao jiejie, this, nucai had lined up first!”
He only saw Rong Yun He’s elegant, sharp eyes emitting a piercing cold glare. Terrified, Si’er immediately stuffed the pastries into Mu Chun’s bosom before seethingly returning behind Rong Yun He without saying anything.
Mu Chun watched as the pastries suddenly appeared before her. Accepting was not right, but refusing was not right either. She could only look at Yun Qian Meng and wait for her to say something.
However, Yun Qian Meng no longer rejected. She turned to Rong Yun He and bowed gratefully, saying, “Many thanks!” After that, she just led Mu Chun out of Tian Fu Lou.
At this moment, the carriage from the xiangfu arrived just on time. Mi mama helped Yun Qian Meng onto the carriage, then told the coachman to drive carefully……
Rong Yun He watched as the carriage at the entrance left. He recognized the ‘Yun’ carved on the carriage’s sides and immediately understood clearly.
Just as he turned to bring Si’er away, the chance encounter in the palace half a month ago couldn’t help but float to the top of his mind. A trace of astonishment floated into his cold eyes, as he couldn’t help but think in his heart, “Was it really her?”
Si’er was slightly resentfully following behind his back. He just couldn’t understand, why did his antisocial young master give away the pastries to that fierce little servant girl?
Those were the pastries that his young master went to prepare for the Rong fu’s old madam! The old madam was catching on in years, so her appetite was not very good, only particularly partial towards these jade emerald mung bean cakes from Tian Fu Lou!
Today, it just happened that his young master was free, so he had made a promise with the old madam. If he returned empty-handed, wouldn’t it cause the old madam to feel disappointed?
The more Si’er thought, the more unwilling he was to give in; causing him to scrunch his face up……
By coincidence, Rong Yun He turned around and completely saw his expression. He momentarily shook his head, this Si’er unexpectedly couldn’t even compare to a little maid from the xiangfu.
The two of them got onto the Rong fu’s carriage together. Rong Yun He sat upright in the middle and closed his eyes to rest while Si’er slightly lifted the curtains, enviously looking at the beautiful scenery of the town square outside.
“Si’er, do you still not know your mistake?” At this moment, Rong Yun He who had closed his eyes spoke. His tone was calm just as before, but it was mixed with an imposing solemnity, shocking Si’er until his hand suddenly trembled; the curtains falling from his fingertips with a slight splat.
Si’er knew that his young master had seen through his petty tricks earlier and immediately kneeled on the floor with both knees. He admitted, “shaoye, it was nucai who was playful and went to watch a street show! nucai originally thought to wait until the cakes were ready before rushing back, but didn’t expect that they would sell so well today! Si’er was wrong. shaoye, please punish!”
Rong Yun He just kept his eyes closed, letting Si’er remain kneeling in front of him, the carriage becoming completely silent……
Si’er’s heart was beating like a drum at the moment. His young master, due to his peculiar hair, had never been liked by others from the moment he was born. Even so, he had always treated him, a servant that had followed him from a young age, as a brother!
But today, he had lied in public in front of so many people, causing the young master to lose face. He worried that he had made the young master angry, and was going to get kicked out of the fu!
At these thoughts, Si’er’s forehead was covered with sweat. He was very familiar with Rong Yun He’s personality. If he tried to beg for forgiveness now, he was afraid that the conclusion would be even worse. Hence, he could only hang his head and kneel before him!
It was only after the carriage had stopped at Rong fu’s main entrance when Rong Yun He finally reopened his eyes. Still, his eyes were too cold, making it impossible to see through his current mood, leaving Si’er to shrink back in fear!
“From today, no salary for three months! If there is another time, you can just leave from the fu!” His words were honest like the cool breeze, but only left Si’er with fear and alarm. He nodded his head again and again before hurriedly following Rong Yun He to enter the fu……
On the xiangfu’s carriage, Mu Chun was somewhat happily hugging the paper box. Breathing deeply through her nose, she sniffed the slight fragrance coming out of the paper box. Her eyes round and wide, she gazed at Yun Qian Meng in adoration and said happily, “xiaojie is really awesome! That manservant is so hateful. He obviously came late, but shamelessly said he came first! nubi had really lined up for four hours, how come nubi didn’t see him at all?”
Yun Qian Meng watched her hug the box of jade emerald mung bean cakes like treasures, then looked at the little girl’s face full of resentment, shaking her head and laughing in spite of herself. Her slender fingers poked at Mu Chun’s forehead as she somewhat dotingly said, “You ah, don’t act cute after you got lucky! They already yielded to you, yet you’re still unwilling to let it go!”
At Yun Qian Meng’s teasing, even Mi mama had started to laugh. Mu Chun’s cheeks blushed slightly. As she recalled how she had fought with some guy over some food in the middle of the street, she could only feel that she had really disgraced herself!
However, when she thought back to the white-haired man who had appeared just now, Mu Chun pressed down her upset feelings, and expressed her curiosity. “xiaojie, the gongzi that appeared just now should be the Rong family’s di shaoye, right? He’s unexpectedly so handsome, only his white hair is such a pity……”
Finishing, the little girl shook her head somewhat sorrily as she expressed some regret…
Yun Qian Meng heard her mention Rong Yun He and asked, “A pity?”
Without waiting for Mu Chun to answer, Mi mama said, “It is said that Rong family’s di sün shaoye was born with a head full of white hair! The Rong family’s laoye saw his main wife give birth to this kind of evil creature, and almost had someone drown Rong shaoye at that time! Luckily, their old madam managed to hurry over and saved Rong shaoye’s life, even claiming to everyone that Rong shaoye would be innately intelligent. The Heavens didn’t want to let him die an untimely death, and left him with some sympathy. However, that Rong laoye had not liked the main wife much since then. He even turned a blind eye to his son, and only favored another concubine, Zhou yiniang!”
Yun Qian Meng heard Mi mama’s explanation and only felt ridiculous in her heart. It almost seemed that all the men in this ancient time period favored their concubines – being the wife was truly not as good as being the concubine!
Moreover, his white hair really wasn’t a treatable disease. Even in modern times, there were cases of albinism, and even beliefs that these people were smart even as children!
But the people in ancient times were just too ignorant and uneducated; they would consider anything peculiar or different to be the work of demons and ghosts. Quite pitifully, that Rong shaoye had been involved in such a social environment.
As if listening to a story, Yun Qian Meng who noticed Mi mama’s keen interest, played along and said, “If this is true, then wouldn’t Rong shaoye be very pitiful?”
Hearing Yun Qian Meng’s sorrowful sigh, Mi mama instead strongly shook her head, firmly saying, “Although Rong shaoye did not receive any love from Rong laoye, the Rong old madam and Rong Xian taifei niangniang in the palace doted on him very much! It is said that the taifei niangniang considered Rong shaoye as her own flesh and blood; from time to time, she would call him to the palace to reminisce! Relying on just this, even if Rong laoye and that Zhou yiniang couldn’t bear to look at the main wife and him any longer, they also cannot do anything!”
While they chatted, the carriage had already arrived at the entrance to the xiangfu!
Mu Chun jumped off the carriage, then helped Yun Qian Meng slowly get down and sit on the sedan chair……
“Let’s go to Bai Shun Tang first!” The moment the sedan curtains were put down, Yun Qian Meng commanded softly. Mi mama nodded and had them carry the sedan chair towards Bai Shun Tang. Then, she headed towards Qi Luo Yuan with the red sandalwood box on her own.
She had originally thought that after lunch, everyone would have returned to rest. But when Yun Qian Meng stepped into the courtyard in Bai Shun Tang, Su Qing was punished to stand outside the main room. And Wang mama was kneeling beside her, weeping and pleading towards the old madam inside, “laotaitai, please be merciful! Our yiniang is pregnant, her body is weak, can’t endure the standing punishment!” nubi is willing to be punished in yiniangs place. laotaitai, please come out and see yiniang! yiniang really can’t handle it anymore……”
Yun Qian Meng watched the charades before her, and really couldn’t see just how Su Qing was unwell. Instead, Wang mama’s shouting and screaming was extremely annoying. In particular, her rather aged face was flowing with tears and snot, momentarily causing people to recoil in disgust!
Su Qing turned to look when she heard their soft footsteps. Seeing Yun Qian Meng calmly stand aside to watch the joke, her cold eyes flashed with a trace of hatred. Wang mama also hardened her skin to crawl beside Yun Qian Meng, trying to curry a favor from her, “da xiaojie, the old madam dotes on you the most! You can see that our yiniang is still carrying xiangye’s son, can’t stand outside for such a long time! Please help us ask a favor from laotaitai; otherwise, if anything happens to xiangye’s heir, wouldn’t it be da xiaojie’s fault?”
Yun Qian Meng found Wang mama’s threat laughable. Stopping Mu Chun from rushing over to argue, she calmly said, “What is my status? You wicked slave, you actually dare to go as far as ask me to lower myself to beg on behalf of a yiniang? Have you become senile or just muddled? Do you want me to report this to laotaitai, and have you and your zhuzi driven out of the xiangfu?”
At these words, Wang mama’s weeping suddenly stopped like a kite that had its strings cut off. Su Qing’s face also ashened in anger towards Yun Qian Meng. She had originally wanted to borrow the situation of Yun Qian Meng causing harm to Yun Xuan Zhi’s unborn heir, and have the old madam’s anger diverted from her body. But she didn’t expect that Yun Qian Meng had grown such a sharp tongue, not taking even the slightest loss!
While Yun Qian Meng watched the master and servant pair’s faces flip between the colors of the rainbow, she remembered the suffering Xia mama had endured. She laughed grimly in her heart, they already couldn’t bear it after being scolded by others slightly; compared to the people that they have hurt and harmed, this little matter was not even close to the amount of interest they had to pay back!
And she was only casually saying those words; there was no way she would really let the old madam drive Su Qing away from the fu!
Besides, she was still pregnant at the moment. It was hard to say that Yun Xuan Zhi wouldn’t build a new residence outside just for Su Qing to live in. By that time, if she wanted to get everything back, afraid it would not be as easy as in the xiangfu!
Instead, she was willing to keep Su Qing here and properly treat her!
While both parties confronted each other, Liu yiniang came out smiling from the warm room. Seeing Yun Qian Meng, her expression became even warmer. She immediately walked over and bowed respectfully to Yun Qian Meng, saying with a smile, “laotaitai just said that she seemed to have heard da xiaojie’s voice and sent sent nubi to come out and take a look! nubi didn’t believe it at first, but sure enough, it really is da xiaojie! laotaitai and you must really have deep feelings!”
Yun Qian Meng saw how happy Liu Han Yu was being today, then saw Su Qing’s indignant expression, and immediately understood why Liu Han Yu was so happy!
Lightly sweeping a glance at Su Qing, Yun Qian Meng carefully asked, “Has laotaitai had her lunch?”
“She’s already eaten! However, since da xiaojie had left in the morning, laotaitai can’t keep her mind off the jade emerald mung bean cakes!” Chatting and laughing, Liu yiniang followed Yun Qian Meng to enter the room. Stepping into the room, Liu Han Yu pulled Yun Qian Meng to a halt and whispered quietly into her ear, “laotaitai wanted to bring the xiaojie from erlaoye’s family over here, but Su Qing did not agree, so she was punished to stand outside!”
Yun Qian Meng nodded to show her understanding, then received the paper box from Mu Chun and stepped into the warm room.
“sunnü greets zumu!” At the moment, the old madam was sitting on a warm bed, holding a brown silk handkerchief in her hands as she carefully examined it.
Seeing Yun Qian Meng enter, she put down the handkerchief and beckoned to her, asking Yun Qian Meng to move closer. Touching her slightly cold hands, she finally feigned anger and said, “On such a cold day, next time, just let the servants go to buy it! You are the xiangfu’s precious da xiaojie, mustn’t ruin your health!”
Hearing this, Yun Qian Meng showed a touched expression and immediately burrowed into the old madam’s bosom. She gratefully said, “What is zumu talking about? Respecting zumu is sunnü’s natural duty! What’s more, it’s already the beginning of spring, it’s not as cold as it was in winter anymore. As long as zumu is happy, sunnü will be delighted to do anything!”
As she spoke, she presented jade emerald mung bean cakes that were still warm. When the box was opened, a fragrant scent assailed their nostrils. The old madam’s eyes showed an even happier expression!
“zumu, have a taste. See if the taste is the same as in the past!” Yun Qian Meng received a wet handkerchief from a servant and cleaned her hands before carefully picking up a piece of the sparkling, transculent mung bean cakes and bringing it up to the old madam’s face.
The old madam did not decline, taking a small bite from Yun Qian Meng’s hands. Eating slowly before swallowing it into her stomach, she said with satisfaction, “Exactly the same as it was in the past! Your shenniang had also hired a chef that specialized in this! But for some reason, they couldn’t get this flavor! Today, thanks to Meng’er’s good fortune, zumu can finally enjoy the food!”
Yun Qian Meng only made a modest smile and passed the the pastries to Rui mama beside the old madam. She then personally poured a cup of hot tea for the old madam, smiling, “zumu doesn’t know, but it was shenniang who told Meng’er about this! shenniang is really considerate. Worried that zumu would not be used to living here, she especially mentioned it to sunnü!”
Seeing that Yun Qian Meng was not arrogant with her own accomplishments, instead passing off the credit to her daughter-in-law, the old madam was even more satisfied with this granddaughter!
Yun Qian Meng had picked up the silk handkerchief that old madam was looking at earlier and saw that it was embroidered with a peach of immortality. The needlework was exquisite, creating an image of a fresh peach. She smiled and praised, “Whose great handiwork is this? The embroidery is so lifelike!”
The old madam heard her and also smiled, pointing to Liu yiniang as she said, “It’s Yun Yan yatou’s embroidery! She said that she worried that I wouldn’t have enough, so she made it for several nights in a row!”
Liu yiniang heard Yun Qian Meng suddenly ask about the silk handkerchief and felt her heart thumping in her chest. Her hands somewhat tightly gripped on her own handkerchief as she showed a smile, anxiously explaining, “nubi just thought yesterday, that da xiaojie was so filial to laotaitai; san xiaojie as a meimei should also learn from da xiaojie’s example, so we sent this handkerchief over! Just a small skill, can’t be compared to da xiaojie!”
What Liu yiniang said was not wrong.
It had to be said, that Tian Fu Lou’s emerald jade mung bean cakes were not something anyone could buy!
The shopkeeper would look at the buyer’s family medallion. If it was not a legitimate child from a prestigious family, it was almost impossible to buy them!
That’s why, Yun Yan’s handkerchief and Yun Qian Meng’s pastries, really could not be compared to each other!
But Yun Qian Meng didn’t show the slightest bit of discontent on her face. Instead, she carefully examined the handkerchief for a while before praising, “yiniang is too modest! meimei’s needlework is exquisite, the colors are also appropriate for zumu’s age, can clearly see that she put a lot of thought into it! This kind of filial piety, is nothing less than anything I have done! What’s more, san meimei’s handiwork is so superb, that I even want to ask her to teach me how to embroider!”
At these words, the old madam showed a smiling expression while Liu yiniang also relaxed and let out a breath!
At this moment, Wang mama’s shouting came again from the outside. Her already hoarse voice was especially ear-piercing, momentarily cutting into the old madam’s joy. Somewhat annoyed, she said, “If everyone in the fu was as sensible as Meng’er, then I wouldn’t have anything to worry about! But that unlucky star had to be stubbornly brought in, can’t even keep a child properly!”
As she spoke, the old madam’s breath became somewhat unsteady as she fiercly slammed her hand onto the table……
Yun Qian Meng quickly put down the handkerchief in her hands and gently stroked the old madam’s bosom to comfort her, helping her steady her breath. Still, she made a puzzled expression and asked, “Coming in just now, sunnü saw Su yiniang standing in the middle of the courtyard. zumu, Su yiniang is carrying father’s flesh and blood after all, you should still let her go back to rest! If anything were to happen, wouldn’t it be harmful to your feelings with father?”
When the old madam heard Yun Qian Meng’s proposal, her mood that had calmed down was stired up once again. She only fiercely sat upright and said with an ugly expression, “That fox still wants to ruin our mother and son’s relationship? Don’t think that she can do whatever she likes because she is pregnant! Does she think that just because other people are scared of her, that even I will be scared of her? Just a yiniang, does she want to overturn the heavens? Even if the child gets born, I won’t accept it, don’t even think about entering the genealogy!”
The old madam pointed out the window as she berated. Her loud and clear voice let everyone inside and outside the room hear everything she said clearly. For a moment, Wang mama’s voice weakened, while Su Qing’s silhoutte actually swayed for a bit, her expression becoming even more ugly!
Yun Qian Meng only looked concernedly at the old madam before lifting the teacup that was already not too hot for her, saying considerately, “zumu, drink some tea and release your anger! If you really can’t bear to see Su yiniang, then just exempt her from paying respects every day and night, letting her stay in Feng He Yuan. This way, father also won’t have any criticism. Instead, he’ll feel that zumu is being considerate towards yiniang!”
The old madam drank a few mouthfuls of tea and suppressed her anger. She then said sincerely and earnestly, “yatou, your heart must not be so kind! Today. she treated me with such disrepect; if you are too nice to her, won’t she just ride on top of your head? She can’t be exempted from paying respects to me every day and night! Even back when your mother was pregnant with you, she also came to see me every day, never missing a single day! How can these customs be broken just over a yiniang? Besides, how can her status be compared to that of the main wife? If she didn’t rudely contradict her elders today, I wouldn’t have treated her like this either!”
After speaking, the old madam heavily gasped for air……
Yun Qian Meng saw that the old madam had finally reached the main point and asked, “Don’t know just what happened to cause zumu to be so unhappy?”
The old madam saw that Yun Qian Meng was being thoughtful and didn’t keep things vague. She got right to the point, saying, “Meng’er, all three of you sisters had grown up together since you were young. With each other as companions, you wouldn’t have felt lonely! But your meimei Yi’er, only has two elder brothers above her, and no brothers and sisters below her. Now that her brothers have come to the xiangfu, leaving her alone, how can she not be lonely? zumu thought, why not bring Yi Yi here, wouldn’t it be great if she came here to accompany you? But that black-hearted woman actually said that the girl should stay back and take care of her parents, just won’t allow Yi Yi to come over! You say, how can zumu not feel bitter?”
Yun Qian Meng lowered her eyes and earnestly listened to the old madam’s every word. Her eyelashes that were like butterfly wings concealed her gaze, even the old madam couldn’t fish out her thoughts!
When the old madam finished speaking, Yun Qian Meng finally perked up her pretty face, her starry, brilliant eyes showing a smiling expression. Her lips curling into a smile, she said happily, “zumu, this is a great thing! Meng’er also really likes Yi Yi, having her here would really be the best! But these things, zumu should just ask father directly, why do you need to go through Su yiniang?”
The old madam watched Yun Qian Meng agree frankly and felt extremely delighted!
But hearing her mention Su Qing again, she couldn’t help but snort and say heavily, “I just thought that since your father doted on her, her words would be more effective than mine! I wanted her to bring this up with your father, but instead, she refused straight away! She really wants to make the household disharmonious; this kind of poisonous woman, what use is there in keeping her?”
At this, Yun Qian Meng understood. The old madam was really just using this as a pretext to make a fuss, wanting to pay back Su Qing for the insult from long ago!
But this matter could not be allowed to let Yun Xuan Zhi form a hatred in his heart. That’s why, she used familial love as an excuse!
However, it would seem that the matter of bringing Yun Yi Yi into the xiangfu was something the old madam had planned all along. After all, in West Chu country, it was difficult to find another man that could compare to Chu Fei Yang!
And after the old madam had caused such a scene, Yun Xuan Zhi would have already received the news at his side. It was very likely that he would bring the matter up at dinner.
This time, Yun Xuan Zhi had wanted to show off his filial piety by bringing the old madam back. If he overruled the old madam’s suggestion now, then that would be extremely unfilial!
Su Qing’s earlier actions were in conflict with Yun Xuan Zhi’s bottom line. She was only afraid that Yun Xuan Zhi would treat her coldly for a while!
It can’t not be said that old ginger was hotter than young ginger. The old madam really kept to the saying, ‘for a nobleman to take revenge, ten years is not too late’. She had waited until today to finally collect the interest!
If Su Qing was to be treated coldly, and the few young and beautiful yiniang having just recently entered the xiangfu; she didn’t need to think to know what her following days would be like!
Not expecting that she wouldn’t need to raise her hands to sort Su Qing out, Yun Qian Meng momentarily felt her mood turn good. She lifted the lid on her teacup and blew away the steam, comfortably taking a sip; only waiting for the good show tonight!
Sure enough, before it was time for dinner, Yun Xuan Zhi had entered Bai Shun Tang with heavy steps!
Only, when he saw in the courtyard, Su Qing with a pale complexion, on the verge of collapse after having made to stand for the entire afternoon, his enraged expression turned tender in a flash. He immediately rushed over and pulled her into his embrace, gently asking, “How did this happen?”
Su Qing showed a wronged expression, her difficultly restrained tears aptly falling onto the back of Yun Xuan Zhi’s hand. The boiling warmth momentarily scalded Yun Xuan Zhi’s heart, causing his heart full of anger to vanish like smoke in thin air. Seeing Su Qing’s eyes turn white, as if about to faint, he immediately carried her and left Bai Shun Tang with large steps!
The old madam had already heard the servants announce, saying that the laoye had come. She had just begun to put on a broken-hearted expression, but didn’t expect the servants to come in again and report that Yun Xuan Zhi had carried Su Qing in his arms and left. Momentarily pissed, the old madam’s lips quivered, hating how she couldn’t smash the teacup in front of her to vent her anger!
Yet Yun Qian Meng had already predicted that Su Qing would pull such a trick. Instead, she was calm and composed as she sipped her tea, counting down to the moment when Yun Xuan Zhi would return.
The room was completely silent, even somewhat frighteningly gloomy. Liu yiniang looked at the old madam’s anger as well as Yun Qian Meng’s uninvolved indifference, and found an excuse to withdraw. Finally able to relax her breath, she ordered the servants to go prepare the dinner!
After two hours, the sky had already darkened. Lanterns were lit in every corner of the xiangfu, but Yun Xuan Zhi had still not returned. The old madam’s anger was now already at the verge of her breaking point!
Yun Qian Meng saw this and immediately placated her, “zumu, don’t be angry! Perhaps Su yiniang’s pregnancy was disturbed! Why don’t we go over and have a look?”
Hearing this, the old madam waved her hands in annoyance, fiercely saying, “If she has the ability, then seriously fall ill! Want me to see her? Dream on!”
Yun Qian Meng saw that the old madam was so stubborn and momentarily showed a distressed expression. She sighed and walked behind the old madam, then gently massaged the old madam’s shoulders with her small hands, softly explaining, “zumu, it’s not wrong for father to worry about his own child. If you don’t go, wouldn’t father think that you did everything on purpose? After that, how can your relationship be good? Besides, father had thought very much about you in order to bring you back to show his filial piety. If you don’t go, wouldn’t it confirm the rumors outside about the xiangfu’s mother and son not getting along well? Not only that, if you want meimei to come over, you still need father to agree!”
Yun Qian Meng said this only to give the old madam a way out of the situation. If the mother and son fought each other too much, the one who benefited would still be Su Qing. Yun Qian Meng would naturally never let Su Qing get her way with anything!
Of course, the old madam was also a smart person. She knew that Yun Xuan Zhi had yet to receive a noble title until now only over this matter of filial piety. If she obstructed her son’s prospects at this juncture, she feared that it would affect the career of her two grandsons as well!
After thinking about it, no matter how much the old madam did not want to go see Su Qing, she had no other choice but to nod her head!
Yun Qian Meng saw this, then immediately told Liu yiniang who was waiting upon them from outside the room, “Pack up a bit of the jujube fibre porridge and the Peng Xi ginger cakes!”
The old madam noticed that Yun Qian Meng was being very thorough and couldn’t help but be somewhat suspicious. However, Yun Qian Meng let the servants pass the food over to Rui mama. The old madam finally showed a bit of a smile on her face as they accompanied each other to go towards Feng He Yuan!
Inside Feng He Yuan, Yun Xuan Zhi looked at Su Qing who had fainted on the bed. He couldn’t help but rage at Wang mama, “Are you all useless? yiniang is pregnant, how can you let her stand outside in the cold for the whole afternoon!?”
Wang mama saw that Yun Xuan Zhi was currently so concerned about Su Qing and finally let the stone in her heart drop. She even ignored the pain on her knees and kneeled once more in front of Yun Xuan Zhi, pleading, “xiangye, please have pity on our yiniang! Today, because yiniang said something wrong to the old madam, she was punished to stand outside for the whole afternoon. If this continues, afraid that the child in yiniang’s stomach……”
At the end of her sentence, Wang mama’s voice became smaller and smaller, as if extremely afraid that others would hear her……
Yun Xuan Zhi listened until she stopped halfway in mid-sentence and felt extremely anxious. He shouted, “Who dares to touch her? If anything happens to Qing’er, all of you will be buried along with her!”
The old madam and Yun Qian Meng just arrived at the gate to Feng He Yuan, and heard his voice. The old madam’s expression sank in anger, but Yun Qian Meng only lightly smiled and supported her, saying, “Father is teaching the servants a lesson! We should only worry about the sick person!”
Hearing this, the old madam forced down the displeasure in her heart. Her furious expression momentarily vanished, bringing her usual moderate expression to enter the main room……
Yun Xuan Zhi still wanted to keep questioning, but noticed the old madam bringing a crowd over. He temporarily stopped and turned quickly to the old madam, personally helping her into the warm room, saying, “The weather is cold, how can mother be troubled to personally come over?”
The old madam swept a severe gaze at Wang mama, then said, “I heard that Su yiniang had fainted in my courtyard! Since she is currently carrying our Yun family’s flesh and blood, I was naturally concerned!”
The old madam only talked about her concern towards Su Qing, and even her love towards the unborn child. Wang mama’s hands momentarily paused from wiping her tears as she raised her head to look puzzlingly at the old madam. But she only saw that she had a calm expression, completely different from her violent and fierce appearance in the afternoon!
Yun Xuan Zhi was also startled. He obviously didn’t expect the old madam would come to see Su Qing because of her concern!
And at this moment, Rui mama had already swiftly let the servants lift the box of food over, carefully arranging the porridge and pastries on the small table.
Yun Xuan Zhi looked at the steaming hot porridge, and momentarily felt somewhat ashamed. He attentively helped the old madam sit down properly and said thankfully, “I’ve troubled mother! But these things, you can just let Wang mama do them. There is no shortage of food for the yiniang in the fu. If mother has to prepare these for a yiniang, er’zi can only blush with shame!”
Seeing that Yun Xuan Zhi’s face was certainly filled with shame, the old madam didn’t reproach him. She only patted his hand and said earnestly, “You are mom’s child, of course mom won’t make things difficult for you! Besides, Su yiniang is pregnant, do you want mom to see my own grandchildren suffer hardships?”
Yun Xuan Zhi saw that the old madam was speaking words true to his heart and nodded heavily.
But Su Qing who was pretending to be unconcious on the bed couldn’t stand listening to this. Under the covers, her hands tightly formed fists, only hating that she couldn’t throw off the covers and argue loudly with the old madam!
Today, the old madam had plainly, deliberately attacked her with words, then made her stand outside for the entire afternoon!
Until Yun Xuan Zhi had entered Bai Shun Tang, not even one servant in the warm room had come out to care for her! But now, the old madam, afraid that she would complain, actually shamelessly rushed over and pretended to be a good person!
Such a good plan! Not only did she preserve the relationship between mother and son, she would also be able to discredit Su Qing. The old madam’s play was too smooth!
Su Qing only felt herself rage until the roots of her teeth trembled. But since she had already fainted, she could only forcibly restrain the bubbling anger in her stomach. However, she was unable to maintain her sleeping face, her eyelashes couldn’t help but twitch slightly……
Liu Han Yu was currently standing behind the old madam. At the conversation between the old madam and Yun Xuan Zhi, she didn’t have any right to cut in, so she only focused her attention on Su Qing’s body!
Already somewhat sceptical about the authenticity of Su Qing’s fainting condition, Liu Han Yu surely enough saw the changes in Su Qing’s face, immediately exclaiming with a soft “Ah!”
Yun Xuan Zhi was just exchanging feelings with the old madam when Liu Han Yu had interrupted them. He immediately felt annoyed and quietly berated, “What happened? Can’t you see that I’m talking with laotaitai?”
Liu Han Yu immediately showed a sorry expression and took another look at Su Qing before she quietly responded, “nubi was wrong. laoye, please forgive me!”
Only, Yun Qian Meng and the old madam had already noticed Liu Han Yu’s expression just now. The old madam then told her, “Liu yiniang, go take a look at Su yiniang. If nothing’s wrong, we should also go back! It’s not good to have too many people in the room, don’t disturb Su yiniang from her rest!”
Liu Han Yu bowed towards Yun Qian Meng and the old madam, then silently moved to the bedside. Wang mama saw this and just wanted to warn Su Qing, but, remembering that Su Qing was supposed to be unconcious at the moment, if she spoke up, wouldn’t it be proving to everyone that Su Qing was lying?
At these thoughts, Wang mama only felt like she had no choice but to suffer in silence; an unspeakably bitter suffering. She could only grip her heart tightly, anxiously watching as Liu Han Yu gradually approached the bed!
The old madam flashed a look at Rui mama, sending Rui mama to immediately stand in front of Wang mama, blocking her vision!
At the moment, Su Qing only felt a malicious air moving towards her bed. Knowing that she couldn’t keep pretending to sleep, she forcefully blinked her eyes, gradually waking up……
Liu Han Yu was just about to stick out her hand, when she saw Su Qing coincidentally wake up. Her heart filled with disappointment, but she still smiled and announced joyfully, “Su yiniang is awake!”
Wang mama heard Liu Han Yu say this, and felt her hanging heart fall back down. She only then realized that her own back was already drenched in sweat……
But Liu Han Yu’s words did not cause Yun Xuan Zhi to show a happy expression. Instead, he looked oddly at Su Qing, feeling a bit suspicious in his heart.
The old madam seriously examined Su Qing’s complexion then finally nodded with relief. She then rose and said, “Since you woke up, you should eat the porridge on the table, can’t neglect the child in your stomach! Since your complexion isn’t too good, you don’t need to pay respects in the morning after this, carefully take care of your body! We should also go back now!”
Yun Xuan Zhi heard the old madam’s instructions, then thought about how timely Su Qing had awoken, and immediately understood. His expression sank, but he still said respectfully to the old madam, “Everything was er’zi’s fault! Sorry for having laotaitai run over!”
Hearing the sincere apology in Yun Xuan Zhi’s words, the old madam knew that her purpose for coming was already achieved. She smiled and waved her hand, saying magnanimously, “You are my son, what’s with all the rules and customs? But Su yiniang is pregant after all. It’s not convenient for you to stay in Feng He Yuan tonight. Let Liu yiniang help you arrange everything, make sure to rest a bit earlier!”
After that, she grasped Yun Qian Meng’s hand and walked out of the warm room. Liu Han Yu also stopped before Yun Xuan Zhi and softly said, “laoye, nubi will first serve dinner to laotaitai and da xiaojie. nubi will come back to serve you later!”
Hearing this, Yun Xuan Zhi momentarily frowned and asked in concern, “laotaitai and Meng’er haven’t eaten?”
Liu Han Yu dully nodded her head and followed after them to leave Feng He Yuan.
The warm room was suddenly quiet again. Yun Xuan Zhi stood at the doorway, directly staring at Su Qing who was leaning at the head of the bed. He only saw that her black hair was hanging down on her shoulders, making her small, charming face appear even more deathly pale!
However, this woman had just tried to cheat him of sympathy by pretending to faint!
Instead, his aged mother had to endure her hunger and come over to see a yiniang. Yun Xuan Zhi’s heart was filled with pain as he coldly said, “The rules cannot be ignored! Otherwise there is no meaning to our family traditions! Su yiniang must sincerely go to pay respects to laotaitai every day and night in the future! Don’t you dare play any tricks!”
Finishing, Yun Xuan Zhi stepped out of Feng He Yuan in disappointment.
Su Qing didn’t think that her desperate ploy over the entire afternoon would be exposed by the old madam. Angry, she momentarily threw the covers onto the floor with all her strength, scaring Wang mama to immediately rush over and hurriedly pull the covers back over her body while she consoled her, saying, “furen, pay attention to your body! If you fall sick at this moment, then aren’t you fulfilling those people’s wish? What’s more, er xiaojie is still waiting for you at the ancestral hall!”
Her words let Su Qing calm down. Only, just now, Yun Xuan Zhi did not get angry, instead saying those things to her coldly and distantly. Su Qing could only feel restless about it!
After sharing her bed with him for so many years, Su Qing was naturally very clear about Yun Xuan Zhi’s personality!
When he was angry, he still wouldn’t estrange himself from other people!
But when he treated them with cold distance, it only meant that he was distrustful of the other person!
Over these years, the reason why Su Qing could get wind when she wants wind, and get rain when she wants rain, was because she had a clear grasp of Yun Xuan Zhi’s personality!
But under the old madam’s hand, Yun Xuan Zhi had unexpectedly become cold to her. It was only too late for Su Qing to second-guess herself, so much so that she almost regretted letting Yun Xuan Zhi bring the old madam back to the xiangfu just to try to set up Yun Qian Meng.
However, what had annoyed Su Qing even more was, early on the second day, Yun Xuan Zhi had sent Captain Liu out of the city, letting him bring Yun Yi Yi back to the xiangfu!
Hearing the news, Su Qing’s face turned ashen. But looking at her circumstances, she could only smile and say that Yun Xuan Zhi’s deed was good!
The old madam saw that her son was now more agreeable with her, and looked towards Su Qing with even more smugness. But she realized in her heart that she was depending on Yun Qian Meng more and more, only feeling that last night, listening to Yun Qian Meng’s proposal was the right course of action!
Liu yiniang knew that Yun Yi Yi was a darling in the old madam’s eyes, so she went to discuss with Yun Qian Meng, whether to tidy up the rooms beside Bai Shun Tang for Yun Yi Yi to stay.
Yun Qian Meng took a deep look at Liu Han Yu and knew that she was worried that with Yun Yi Yi here, Yun Yan would have no ground to stand on, so she only smiled and told her to do as she sees fit.
Liu yiniang saw that Yun Qian Meng was still considerate of her, and felt the loyalty in her heart grow.
At the moment, Yun Qian Meng had entered the old madam’s room after the servants’ bows. She saw the old madam holding up some satin and silk fabric to compare the colors, so she laughed and asked, “What is zumu doing?”
Rui mama saw Yun Qian Meng come in and smilingly moved over, receiving the plain cloak she had taken off, answering, “laotaitai was worried that the four xiaojie didn’t have any good clothes, losing face for the xiangfu. So she used her private savings and thought about making some new clothes for all the xiaojie!”
When she heard this, Yun Qian Meng showed a disapproving look and snatched the satin from the old madam’s hands and passed it to Rui mama, somewhat angrily saying “zumu is the elderly of our xiangfu! To actually take out your private savings, won’t other people jest about us? Outsiders who don’t understand will say that our xiangfu is embezzling our cousins! zumu, please stop. It’s not just father who won’t allow it, even Meng’er won’t let you! Afterwards, when Liu yiniang comes, we’ll ask her to call over the boss of one of the weavers from Jiang Nan, and make a few more sets of clothes for meimei! As for accessories, when simeimei arrives, Meng’er will personally bring her out to choose!”
The content of her words were both intimate and warm. Forget the old madam, even Rui mama was full of praise for the eldest young miss’s handling of the affairs. She said, “laotaitai, look, da xiaojie is so sensible! You should comply with da xiaojie, don’t waste her filial obedience!”
The old madam saw that Yun Qian Meng had a slightly angry expression, and listened to Rui mama’s advice, granting Yun Qian Meng’s request.
However, having made plans for the youngest granddaughter in front of the eldest, she worried that perhaps Yun Qian Meng was being generous on the surface but jealous inside!
The old madam carefully sized up Yun Qian Meng. She only found that she was wearing a green spring skirt, her body covered by a thin, silver-colored coat. The colors were simple, but didn’t let down her status. Only, her drawn-up hair was only adorned with one ivory orchid hairpin, while her temples were bare besides two simple pearl hairpins. This caused the old madam to feel somewhat disatisfied, thinking that a girl like that was too simple and neat. She ordered Rui mama to take out a small jade box from her wooden chest, then selected a golden peacock buyao and fixed it in Yun Qian Meng’s hair. Satisfied, she said, “Now you look like a xiangfu’s da xiaojie!”
Yun Qian Meng figured out that the old madam had misconstrued her intentions, so she immediately stood up and spoke with a terrified expression. “How can sunnü accept such a precious gift from zumu?!”
Saying that, she moved to pull the golden buyao out of her hair……
But the old madam stopped her movements, pulling Yun Qian Meng to sit back down. She smiled and said, “These years, zumu had never sent you anything! Now, you respect your elders, love your sisters, of course you deserve this reward!”
Yun Qian Meng saw that she was insistent, then stood up again to bow in thanks, “Qian Meng thanks zumu for the reward!”
The old madam nodded with satisfaction. The two of them sat down and chatted for a bit, bringing up the topic of the birthday that was coming soon. The old madam said with some interest, “I haven’t seen laotaijun for so many years, don’t know how she has changed! Thinking back, your wai zumu was once a well-known beauty in the capital!”
Yun Qian Meng saw that the old madam finally couldn’t stop herself from talking about Fu Guo gongfu and held back the coldness in her eyes, smiling as she said, “wai zumu is strong and healthy. With da jiumu busy handling all the matters in the fu, wai zumu is really enjoying her life with no cares! It’s just that wai zumu has somewhat caught on in years, often cherishing the memory of the past. She especially misses zumu, saying that you were bosom friends and also relatives by marriage; the feelings were naturally impossible to compare with other people!”
Since Yun Qian Meng’s words were very much to her liking, the old madam’s rarely seen smiling wrinkles also appeared. She pointed at Yun Qian Meng and praised towards Rui mama, “This yatou, really gets my heart, listen to that sweet-talking mouth!”
Rui mama also laughed, quickly continuing after the old madam, “That’s true! da xiaojie is so filial, truly is laotaitai’s great fortune!”
The old madam loved listening to flattery the most. Being boasted up into the sky by others, her elated heart was filled with a light and airy feeling. However, her mind was still clear, understanding which questions she ought to ask at this moment. She only intimately pulled over Yun Qian Meng’s hands, resolutely saying, “zumu hasn’t been in the capital for so many years, completely unsure of a lot of the news and happenings around here! I recall that your da jiumu’s son, your da biaoge has already had his coming-of-age ceremony?”
Yun Qian Meng watched her hands get wrapped around in the old madam’s palms and perked up her powdered lips. Her eyes smiled as she answered, “da biaoge is already nineteen; didn’t expect that zumu has such a good memory, even remembering these little things!”
Hearing this, the old madam showed a disapproving expression and looked at Yun Qian Meng as she said sternly, “Silly girl, this is not some little thing! The sons and daughters of prestigious families, in the eyes of outsiders, are all hot, steaming buns! Which lao jiejie’s coming-of-age, which xiaojie’s hairpin ceremony, everyone would remember even more clearly, just thinking about how to snatch them back home! Especially your wai zumu’s family, even though the current Emperor is not the Empress Dowager’s flesh and blood, the relationship between them is even closer than birth parents; this had also brought prosperity to Fu Guo gongfu! You can imagine, the grandson from the son of the first wife will surely receive benevolence from the Emperor; his career will naturally be like smooth sailing! Towards our xiangfu, there are only all sorts of benefits and no drawbacks!”
At her words, Yun Qian Meng felt a cold sneer flash inside her heart. Her grandmother did not just want to pave a path for her grandsons on Yun Xuan Zhi’s side, she even started to count her benefits from Fu Guo gongfu!
It’s just that, although Yun Xuan Mo was the Minister of the Left’s birth brother, in the end, he never managed to gain any honors. From just their family background, Yun Yi Heng and his brother was already at a lower position compared to the other children from noble families!
Perhaps this was exactly one of the reasons the old madam was so anxious!
However, if they didn’t have genuine ability, the path they took would not bring them very far!
Although Qu Zhang Qing was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he was well rounded in both military arts and civil knowledge, entering the army to temper himself from a young age. When he was fifteen, he entered the Military Examination and seized third place right away with his own ability. Only hence was he able to fairly and properly gain his position as an assistant minister in the army!
The outside world also evaluated this sun shaoye from Fu Guo gongfu very highly, many of them praising him for not relying on the backing of his family, using his own two hands to pave his own path!
But the old madam would not understand this principle, only focused on using relationships with others to give her grandsons a smooth and unhindered path.
However, Yun Qian Meng couldn’t bluntly reject the old madam, so as not to cause the old madam to lose face and turn her into an enemy for no reason.
She only smiled sweetly, and frowned with a bit of a headache. She acted spoiled and leaned against the old madam, complaining, “zumu, Meng’er doesn’t find these things interesting! The country and politics, isn’t something we women have any say in. What’s more, Meng’er thinks that both tangge are clever and intelligent, even if they don’t rely on anybody, they would still be able to break through to the heavens!”
The old madam saw that she really wasn’t in the mood to discuss these things. Thinking that the future was long, these matters really couldn’t be rushed. She only needed to treat Gu laotaijun’s wai sunnü well. Surely, Fu Guo gongfu would look upon this kindly and extend their help, right?
Thinking along these lines, the old madam didn’t hold on to the topic much longer. She caressed Yun Qian Meng’s cheeks and sighed with feeling, “If Yi’er was generous and proper like you, then I can be relieved! But that girl grew up in a small place, afraid she won’t be able to fit into the circle of xiaojie from the capital!”
Seeing the old madam’s eyes full of concern, Yun Qian Meng knew that she was planning to bring Yun Yi Yi to the birthday feast!
However, with Yun Yi Yi’s identity, she really didn’t have the right to enter Fu Guo gongfu, so they could only rely on her!
Yun Qian Meng immediately sat up straight and consoled, “sunnü thinks that simeimei is quite presentable! If zumu doesn’t believe me, let’s bring simeimei along to the birthday feast!”
The old madam had waited all day until she finally heard Yun Qian Meng loosen her mouth. She was naturally extremely pleased, and immediately gave her some of the pastries she had brought back from Su city, letting Yun Qian Meng bring them back to share with the servants in her courtyard.
At this moment, the mama who was standing outside came in, announcing Su yiniang’s arrival!
Yun Qian Meng gave a meaningful glance to Mi mama, leaving her to raise the curtains from a corner and call out, “Su yiniang, please enter!”
Su Qing stood outside and saw that no one was coming out to bring her in. Thinking that this was the old madam’s intention, she supported her waist with one hand and cautiously stepped into the warm room.
The old madam saw her delicately pretty, fragile appearance, and felt blood rushing to her head. Her good mood vanished into the clouds, as she looked at the brightness outside. It was evidently past the right hour, approaching nine o’clock. A yiniang who came to pay respects to the old madam, actually dawdled until it was midday before showing up? It seemed that the old madam was going to make things difficult for Su Qing once again!