Chapter 10: Yiniang bullies yiniang
妹妹 meimei – younger sister; 三妹妹 san meimei – means third (younger) sister
丫头 yatou – usually referring to a servant girl; can also mean girl, latter usually used as a form of endearment
丫鬟 yahuan – servant girls
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
夫人 furen – legitimate wife; would be added to the surname of the household as a form of address; usage is similar to the English “Missus”
庶 shu – of common birth; in this setting, it means born to a concubine
小姐 xiaojie – young miss; usually from a good family, but can be used to refer to any young girl
婆子 pozi – older female servants
儿 ‘er – child; added to names as a form of affection, closeness or endearment
奴婢 nubi – slave servant girl; referring to themselves in third person is a form of debasement
老爷 laoye, 相爷 xiangye – old master, master; the head of the house
Gold Medallion 金牌 jinpai – a gold medal that carries authority from the imperial family
园 yuan – literally garden; here, it means courtyard
(Edit: I was advised that Zhao’s position 管家 guanjia was more equivalent to the role of a butler in feudal China. It certainly makes sense, since he seems to hold a rather high position amongst the servants. Might take a bit to get used to it.) 😅
Everything that happened on those two days had had immediately spread through the xiangfu, raising a huge commotion not unlike that of a tempest.
Especially now, xiangye, unexpectedly, personally ordered the flogging of butler Zhao just to comfort the eldest young miss; this caused everyone in the xiangfu to be brimming with curiosity at the eldest young miss who had incongruously become more valiant and courageous after having her engagement with Chen Wang annulled.
All kinds of different versions of Yun Qian Meng were floating out of the mouths of many different people, so much so that some of the more superstitious people, actually believed that the eldest young miss had been possessed by spirits. For a while, the people om the xiangfu kept a high guard, many of them fearing that they too would be a victim of demonic possession.
Regarding all of this, Su Qing only listened and did not speak. Even though butler Zhao was one of her trusted aides, when she heard about his punishment, she remained silent as before, just bringing Yun Ruo Xue along for a quiet breakfast.
“Mum, are you really not going to care? This Yun Qian Meng really considers herself a strong individual? Does she think that she can lord over others just because she has the Empress Dowager’s gold medallion? To think that in the past, whenever she saw us, she would lower herself quietly!” Listening to the report from the yatou outside, Yun Ruo Xue heavily slammed her bowl and chopsticks on the table; her eyes held streaks of sinister light, and her face was flushing with fury.
But Su Qing continued to eat, her expression unchanged. When she saw that Yun Ruo Xue looked like she was about to lose her cool, she put down her own bowl, swept a look at Liu yiniang and the third young miss who had come to pay her respects, and calmly said, “Ruo Xue, don’t lose your bearings. Since that was your daddy’s decision, there’s no need for us to speak out of turn.”
Moreover, butler Zhao was one of the people she had picked up personally; how could she not know that he was the type of person who never lets go of any grudges?
What Yun Xuan Zhi did today, while appearing to be doting on Yun Qian Meng, was actually just giving face to the Empress Dowager.
It seemed that this time, if he personally stepped forth to clarify the replacement of butler Zhao, he would hurt their marital affection, letting that girl, Yun Qian Meng, to drill a hole into their relationship.
Taking note of Su Qing‘s meaningful glance, Yun Ruo Xue cleverly stopped talking about Yun Qian Meng, instead, she stood up, slowly walked in front of Liu yiniang who was still bowing at the entrance, and grabbed the third young miss’s chin with her slender, lily-white hands; sizing her up softly.
“Pfft……”, her somewhat flattering expression from before was unexpectedly replaced with light laughter, “Mum, this san meimei has become quite pretty. Now that san meimei is all grown up, shouldn’t mum hurry up and find her a good family?”
Yun Ruo Xue‘s words were like a bolt from the blue. The third young miss, Yun Yan’s face which was originally blushing red visibly paled into a deathly white. She couldn’t help but to look towards her mother for help.
“Furen, Yan’er is still young. In terms of appearance, it’s still Ruo Xue xiaojie whose beauty is capable of causing the downfall of a city.” Liu yiniang spoke in fear and trepidation, nervously probing Su Qing‘s expression with her eyes.
“Liu yiniang is too modest. I see that Yan’er has really blossomed into a lovely and moving flower. Even though her status is of shu birth, as long as it’s not some rich family, with laoye‘s position, being matched with a commoner is certainly possible. I think the eldest son of butler Zhao would actually be a pretty good choice.” Su Qing‘s words that decided the rest of Yun Yan’s life were unchanged despite the kneeling Liu yiniang‘s desperate pleas.
“Please, furen! We, mother and daughter, are content with our current lives living in the xiangfu together for so many years. I beg you to have some mercy, let Yan’er stay by my side for another few years.” Liu yiniang inched towards Su Qing‘s feet while on her knees, knocking her head on the floor non-stop, hoping that she would change her mind.
And Yun Yan had long since had her face full of tears as she sat paralyzed on the ground.
Who didn’t know that butler Zhao’s eldest son was extremely promiscuous? He had already taken in a dozen or more women as wives and concubines yet still spent most of his days wandering in and out of brothels! This decision would ruin the rest of her life, how could she be so vicious!
“What are you doing, Liu yiniang? Could it be that you’re displeased with this marriage arrangement? Don’t be so shameless, try thinking about your own status, how dare you be so picky? Someday, I will let butler Zhao personally come forward to propose. Yun Yan becoming a yiniang of the Zhao family, is already set in stone.” Kicking away Liu yiniang, Su Qing stood with an unkind expression and turned, leaving the old female servants in the room to drive away the endlessly pleading mother and daughter.
Now that her anger was vented out, Yun Ruo Xue was in a much better mood and returned to the table to continue eating her breakfast slowly, “Mum, that Yun Yan and her mother are of no threat to us. Why did you plan to wed her to that ruffian as a concubine?”
Su Qing saw her daughter’s puzzled expression and smiled, then lightly poked her forehead with a finger, speaking indulgently, “Sometimes, these people are the most crucial. Your mum can’t let get any ideas, so why not have Yun Yan become a daughter-in-law of the Zhao family? That way, butler Zhao will remain loyal to us.”
Yun Ruo Xue heard this and immediately burst out a bright smile, coquettishly snuggled into Su Qing‘s bosom, and said lovingly, “Still can’t compare to mum’s foresight.”
Su Qing hugged her daughter, gently stroking her supple black hair with a distant look while she ruminated. Thinking back, if those heavy-handed yahuan were not around, then it wouldn’t be possible……
A few days later, Yun Qian Meng was slowly getting used to the lifestyle of the ancient times.
Without Su Qing and butler Zhang’s disturbance, Qi Luo Yuan although slightly simple and crude, but the passing of days was still relaxed and comfortable.
And Yun Qian Meng had taken advantage of this leisurely time to familiarize herself with the people within her memories.
“Xiaojie!” Mu Chun could be seen running over from far away.
“What matter has made you so flustered?”, she asked when she saw Mu Chun‘s labored breathing.
“Xiaojie, nubi just went to the accounting room to collect the monthly allowance. Who knew, the accounting mister said that our Qi Luo Yuan had no monthly allowance to collect.” Gradually catching her breath, Mu Chun indignantly spoke, “Nubi went yesterday, they said the money wasn’t ready and asked us to wait. Going today, they said the same thing. Nubi asked around while coming back, everyone else had collected the allowance yesterday. We are the only ones they avoided paying!”
“Oh? So there’s no monthly allowance to collect?” Closing the book in her hands, Yun Qian Meng squinted her eyes, her lips curved into a cold smile.
Su Qing had governed the xiangfu for so long, her influence had crept into every corner. Even though Yun Xuan Zhi had given his orders, Su Qing still had all kinds of ways to cause problems for her.
Only, Yun Qian Meng was all to happy to accept all of these challenges. As long as she could pit her wits against Su Qing for a while, then these quiet days would be even more interesting!
“Xiaojie, there’s one other thing. Butler Zhao was reportedly preparing gifts recently, hearsay is that he wants to propose a marriage from xiangye.” After a few moments of silence, Mu Chun managed to tell her of the news she had heard.
“Xiaojie, Liu yiniang brought third young miss over to pay respects.” Just as she had finished, Shui’er who was guarding outside brought over a haggard-looking and worried Liu yiniang and Yun Yan.