Published at 23rd of June 2019 10:10:03 AM

Chapter 107

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Old Madam Sheng’s Ability, Concubine Lin’s Tragic Future, Molan’s Determination (2)

Old Madam Sheng stroke the table and sneered, "You fool! You have been dragged into a plot. Do you think Molan slipped out to seduce Liang Han on the spur of the moment? They must have conceived the plot for a long time. So Concubine Lin lured you into the trap. After you did the discreditable thing, she can use it to control you."

Sheng Hong's forehead was wet with cold sweat. Old Madam Sheng took a few deep breaths to calm herself down and said slowly, "Hong, do you still remember the conversation between us after Concubine Wei died in childbirth many years ago?" Sheng Hong was a bit dazed but quickly responded, "Yes, I do."

Old Madam Sheng sighed, "At that time, I asked you to keep Concubine Lin under strict control, but you didn't take my words to your heart. Now they have brought disaster upon our family with the connivance of you. I told you that your official career wouldn't go smoothly if there were no peace and order in our mansion. Now what I said has come true…"

Sheng Hong was very ashamed and embarrassed. At the end of May, it was getting warmer but he broke out in a cold sweat. He began to hate Concubine Lin because he wouldn't have been pointed and laughed at by his colleagues if she hadn't stirred up troubles.

Old Madam Sheng asked with a solemn expression, "Do you really want me to deal with this matter?" Sheng Hong made a kowtow to her and answered aloud, "Yes! I have neither ability nor virtue. Mother, you have given me so much help these years. Please help me once more."

Old Madam Sheng stared into Sheng Hong's eyes and said slowly and earnestly, "If I took over the job, I would punish Concubine Lin severely. Can you stand by and do nothing to help her?" Sheng Hong caught the note of warning in her voice. After thinking for a moment, he gritted his teeth and replied, "Yes, I can."

Old Madam Sheng added, "Even if I kill her?" Sheng Hong turned the consequences of not dealing with this matter properly over in his mind. Over these years, his love for Concubine Lin had slowly faded away. So he made up his mind and said loudly, "She deserves it! Wei shi died because of her. Now it's her turn to pay for her misdeeds."

Old Madam Sheng stared at Sheng Hong for a long time before she nodded expressionlessly and said, "I won't kill her but…She can't stay in our mansion anymore."

After dinner, Old Madam Sheng asked Minglan back to the House of Clear Dusk. Minglan found an excuse and left Dangju in Hall of Peaceful Ages so that Dangju could pass on how Old Madam Sheng dealt with Concubine Lin and Molan to her.

Old Madam Sheng was different from Hai shi. Hai shi was born of a literary family. She preferred to win people by virtue and convince them through reasoning. Old Madam Sheng was a legal daughter of a noble family, straightforward and determined. She didn't like to argue with other people. From the point of her view, as long as she expressed herself clearly, she could directly punish the culprits without convincing them to agree with her.

Sheng Hong and Wang shi stayed in the inner room of Hall of Peaceful Ages. One of them sat at the table and the other sat on a couch at the window. The couple both felt wronged and didn't look at each other. Outside the inner room, Old Madam Sheng, who sat alone in the main room, asked someone to bring Concubine Lin and Molan over here.

A beautiful maid in a bright pink coat took Concubine Lin's arm and helped her walk into the room. Then Concubine Lin knelt on her own initiative. Old Madam Sheng looked narrowly at the maid who had almond-shaped eyes and peachy cheeks. Her eyes wore an expression of coquetry and her belly was a bit swollen. Old Madam Sheng sneered and turned to Molan who dressed casually and looked a little dispirited. Although she had suffered a lot these days, she was still arrogant and stood straightly with raised head.

Old Madam Sheng looked at Molan and said slowly, "I'm not going to reason with you. Master, Madam and your sister-in-law must have lectured you. I just want to ask you one question. Now you are unable to marry into the Wen family. What are you going to do?"

Molan felt her chest tightening with anger and snorted, "Nothing can be worse than death. I'm not afraid of it. If you want me to die, I will do as you wish."

Old Madam Sheng blurted out without thinking, "You are brave! Fang Mama, bring things in." The next moment Fang Mama came in with a salver in her hands. Old Madam Sheng pointed at the things on the salver and said, "Here are a white silk ribbon and a cup of noxious tea. You can choose one to kill yourself. In this way the bad reputation of our family can be cleared."

Molan turned pale, the expression of stubborn determination on her face disappearing at once. She looked at the white silk ribbon and noxious tea on the salver, trembling violently. Concubine Lin gave out a sad, shrill cry and kowtowed to Old Madam Sheng while begging, "Old Madam, please spare her life! Molan, kneel down and make an apology to your grandmother… Old Madam, Molan is a naive young girl. I know she has annoyed you. But for Master's sake, please forgive her…"

Old Madam Sheng waved her hand and threw a teacup to the floor with a bang. Then she pointed at Concubine Lin and snapped, "Shut up! My biggest regret is that I brought you into the Sheng Mansion out of sympathy and accepted you as Master's concubine. Over the years you have caused us a lot of trouble. Now I don't want to retell old stories. But if you say another word, I will immediately pour the poison tea down your daughter's throat. You know I'm a woman of my word."

Concubine Lin swallowed hard and bowed her head obediently but she kept looking around for someone to help her. Old Madam Sheng sneered, "Are you looking for Master? He won't come here today. He has given me a free hand with this matter."

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Concubine Lin crumpled down onto the floor, looking pathetic, and dared not speak anymore. Wang shi, who was sitting in the inner room, smiled ironically and turned to look at her husband, satisfied to see Sheng Hong sitting still without anxiety on his face.

Realizing the situation was unfavourable for herself, Molan promptly knelt down and apologized, "Grandmother, I see that I was wrong. Please forgive me! I will never do that again. I… I don't want to die." With that she cried and cast a glance at Concubine Lin kneeling beside her. Suddenly, she recalled what she had done some time ago and hastened to explain, "I didn't mean to disgrace our family's name. I was locked in my house for a long time and got bored. So I decided to go to Longhua Temple and prayed that you would have good health and a long life, and Father could be prompted to a higher rank. But I didn't expect that something happened to me so suddenly… It was an unintentional fault…" Molan was gradually lost for words when she saw Old Madam Sheng looking at her sarcastically.

Wang shi got insanely angry in the inner room. The servants had confessed everything. How could Molan have the gall to resort to sophistry? Old Madam Sheng also thought Molan's argument ridiculous and said slowly, "Your mother wants you to marry into the Liang family. So she has hatched the plot for several months. She asked her trusted servant to sweet-talk the gatekeeper of Marquis Yongchang Household. When the servant heard that Young Master Liang Han was going to offer incense in Longhua Temple with his mother that day, he reported to you and then you asked your maid Yunzai to pose as you and lie on the bed. You changed into maid's clothes and secretly slipped out of the Sheng Mansion. After that, you found a place to dress up and asked Xia Xian to prepare the carriage for you… After flogging them, the servants have confessed everything. If you two still want to make a spectacle of yourselves, I can have people bring them here and confront them with you. Humph! Molan, how dared you tell a lie in front of me? You are exactly like your mother. Concubine Lin is skilled in confounding right and wrong. Now you have learnt it too."

Molan's face drained of color. Knowing that Old Madam Sheng had got everything clear, she felt scared and got down on all fours, trembling like a leaf.

In the inner room, Wang shi flashed a sardonic look at Sheng Hong who felt very embarrassed. In the main room, Old Madam Sheng motioned Fang Mama to put down the salver aside and continued, "Now you have a bad reputation. It's difficult to marry you into a respectable family. And the Liang family doesn't want you. Did you have any other choice?"

A shiver passed through the slight frame of Molan and she shouted, "Madam hasn't gone to propose the marriage. How can you say that the Liang family doesn't want me?"

Old Madam Sheng looked at her with cold eyes. "So you and your mother plan to put pressure on Madam to visit Marquis Yongchang Household and raise the marriage proposal for you. But have you ever thought that in fact the Liang family isn't satisfied with you at all? From ancient times to the present, it's always the boy's parents who bring up proposal of marriage to the girl's parents. Even if there are exceptions, the two families must have reached an agreement in advance. If we proposed the marriage but they refused it, your father would lose face."

Molan wiped the tears off her face while defending, "If Madam Liang liked Minglan, why would she be dissatisfied with me? Minglan is no better than me. Furthermore, my mother is much better than her mother." Her voice was full of indignation.

Old Madam Sheng ridiculed, "Why is she dissatisfied with you? I don't know. But from that day on, Marquis Yongchang Household haven't made any promises. You father flew a kite about the attitude of the Liang family, but they have no response at all."

Molan's breath rasped in her heaving chest. She crawled on her hands and knees toward Old Madam Sheng and tugged at lower hem of her grandmother's coat like a drowning person trying to catch at a straw, begging aloud, "Grandmother, please help me! Minglan is your granddaughter, and so am I. You devote yourself to arranging a good marriage for her. Now you shouldn't leave me in the lurch. I know I have brought shame on our family's name and Father dislikes me now. But I have no other choice. Madam hates me and my mother to the extreme. She won't seek a good marriage for me. So… I just want to get a good marriage so as not to be bullied for the rest of my life."

With that, big tears rolled down her cheeks, her eyes reddening as she cried sadly, "I envy Minglan. She's more charming than me. Father, Eldest Brother, Sister-in-law Hai and you all like her. After we met Marchioness Yongchang, she also likes Minglan. I'm not reconciled to my defeat. Why can she marry into a better family than I can? Now there is no room for regret when matters have reached this stage. Have pity on me, Grandmother. Please help me to achieve my goal."

Molan got down on all fours and kept wailing with sorrow.

"What do you want me to do?" Old Madam Sheng asked.

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