Published at 28th of June 2019 06:24:52 AM

Chapter 108

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Old Madam Sheng’s Ability, Concubine Lin’s Tragic Future, Molan’s Determination (3)

Molan instantly raised her head, a glimmer of hope flashing through her eyes. “Please ask Father to beg Marquis Yongchang. Father has a good reputation in official circles. Marquis Yongchang will take his request seriously. Anyway, Minglan and I are both young ladies of the Sheng family, and she is no better than me. Since Madam Liang intends to choose our family as their in-laws, she must be willing to accept me as her daughter-in-law. Grandmother, ask Father and Madam to help me! If I marry into the Liang family, our family will benefit from it. As long as Father and Madam try their best, it’s going to be successful. I don’t want to die, please help me out!”

In the inner room, a sneer hung on Wang shi’s lips. Sheng Hong clenched his fists and became purple with rage. He was always cautious in building relationships with officials and never offended or begged other people without reasons. That was why he could acquire the present position. But now Molan, his insolent illegal daughter, asked him to beg Marquis Yongchang. It was a disgraceful behavior. Besides, if the Liang family refused him and the news spread over the capital city, it would bring great shame on him.

These words sending a chill to Old Madam Sheng's heart, she quietly looked at Molan whose face bathed in tears. Then she threw a glance at Concubine Lin and scoffed, “You mean, if Master and Madam fail to persuade Marquis Yongchang and his wife, it must be because they are half-hearted and perfunctory?”

Molan was stunned, but soon lowered her head and replied, “Father loves me, so he should be considerate of me and do his best to help me.”

The room quietened down. There was dead silence but for leaves of the osmanthus tree rustling in the wind. In the inner room, Sheng Hong turned pale with anger and was completely disappointed in Concubine Lin and Molan. Wang shi’s heart softened when she saw him so sad.

After a long silence, Old Madam Sheng said casually, “All people in our mansion know that your father loves you very much. You are his illegal daughter, but your food, clothes and living conditions are the same as the legal daughter, Rulan. Even Madam dares not snub you because she is afraid to cause him a great deal of heartache. Just follow your conscience and think about what kind of life Aunt Kang’s illegal daughters lead. Your life is much better than theirs. How could you utter these unfilial ravings? You don't deserve your father's love. The biggest difference between you and Minglan is that she is contented with her lot and knows what to do and what not to do, but you are insatiable. You said I devoted myself to arranging a good marriage for her and ignored you. But even if I do the same to you, will you accept my arrangement? Obviously, you won’t! I don't like greedy girls but you always want to marry into a rich and influential family… All right. Madam refuses to proposal the marriage for you, but I will do it.”

All people in the house were shocked by her words. Sheng Hong gritted his teeth with a cold expression on his face and even wanted to kill Molan with poison. Wang shi jumped up in surprise.

Molan raised her head and looked at Old Madam Sheng with disbelief, the bitterness on her face changing into a joyful look. She was about to express her thanks when Old Madam Sheng carried on speaking, “I will go to Marquis Yongchang Household and propose the marriage for you. I will also put in a good word for you. However, man proposes and God disposes. I can’t guarantee that the Liang family will consent to this marriage.”

Molan’s heart skipped a beat. Old Madam Sheng looked into her eyes and said slowly, “If Madam Liang accept you as her daughter-in-law, it must be your good fortune and you don't have to thank me. If she is unwilling…” Molan’s fingers shivered with nervousness. Old Madam Sheng continued, “Your father still works in the capital and your eldest brother-in-law is Liang Han’s superior. I won’t let you be Liang Han’s concubine because it will bring disgrace upon your eldest sister and our whole family. So I will send you back to Youyang and ask your aunt to marry you to a rich peasant family.”

Molan came out in cold sweat with fear, her vest wet. She opened her mouth and wanted to say something, but Old Madam Sheng pointed at the white silk ribbon and noxious tea on the salver and spoke frankly, “If you want to fob me off with other excuses, choose one of them to kill yourself or shave your head to be a nun. If you die, I will hold a huge funeral for you. If you go to the nunnery, I will visit you from time to time.”

Molan was stunned and dared not speak. Concubine Lin, who knew Old Madam Sheng well and believed that she would try her best to help Molan since she had made a promise, was overjoyed. In this way, Sheng Hong would surely go to beg Marquis Yongchang.

After that, Old Madam Sheng turned to Concubine Lin and said, “You can’t stay in Sheng Mansion anymore. Tomorrow morning I will have people send you to the village estates.”

The words, like a bolt from the blue, shocked Concubine Lin. She shouted out, “Ah! Old Madam…” Before she finished her words, Fang Mama and two strong female servants put a cloth in her mouth and tied her hands and feet. Because of mother-child affinity, Molan cried, shouted and pulled at a corner of Old Madam Sheng’s coat to beg for mercy while Concubine Lin was desperately struggling like a crazy animal.

Old Madam Sheng stared at Concubine Lin and said coldly, “One more word and I will send you to the Tongchu Nunnery.”

Concubine Lin stopped struggling and Molan was dazed. The Tongchu Nunnery was not a normal nunnery. The rich and influential families would send the womenfolk who made mistakes to the nunnery, in which they would be scolded and beat by nuns. Besides, they needed to do heavy manual work without enough food and a good sleep. It was said that all the women sent into the Tongchu Nunnery suffered a lot.

Old Madam Sheng stood up and looked down at Concubine Lin who glared at her with hatred. Without any fear she said calmly, “I really regret that I didn’t take Changfeng and Molan away from you. If I had known they would be educated to be an unambitious, self-righteous boy and a vain, shameless girl, I would never have you bring them up. You have misled your children by your wrong moral values. I know you have caused some deaths. So, go to the village estates and reflect upon your mistakes. After a dozen years, if your son and daughter became outstanding, they would take you out of the village estates and by then you could enjoy your old age in peace. But if they didn’t make any progress…”

Old Madam Sheng didn’t go on about it but Concubine Lin got the meaning. After a dozen years, she would be an aged woman. She whined, her eyes filled with fear, and tried to make a kowtow and beg for mercy. But she was unable to break away from the strong female servants.

Suddenly, Old Madam Sheng turned to smile at the beautiful maid in a bright pink coat beside Concubine Lin and asked gently, “Your name is Jufang, right?” The maid was spooked by Old Madam Sheng’s high-handed measures, standing in the corner and trembling. Hearing what Old Madam Sheng said, Jufang promptly kowtowed to her.

With a genial look, Old Madam Sheng continued, “You are really a beautiful girl. What a pity...”

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Jufang was delighted with Old Madam Sheng's praise and gentle manner towards her. But she became panic-stricken when she heard the last sentence. She looked at Old Madam Sheng, puzzled. Old Madam Sheng sighed, “You silly girl. Don't you know you have been put in harm’s way?”

Jufang was frightened and asked in a trembling voice, “Who… Who put me in harm’s way?”

Old Madam Sheng shook her head with a look of pity and answered her with another question, “How long have you been pregnant?” Jufang blushed and replied, “Four months.”

Old Madam Sheng said in a cold voice, “So you became pregnant in the period of the national mourning.” Greatly frightened, Jufang turned pale. After a while she came to herself and sorrowfully cried out, “I don’t know that. Concubine Lin asked me to serve Master.”

“She has her own intention.” Old Madam glanced at Concubine Lin and added, “Pregnancy is not allowed in the period of the national mourning. Master won’t keep this unborn baby because others will hold it against him. If Madam know that you are pregnant, she will fly into a rage and punish you severely.”

In the inner room, Wang shi, who had known nothing about her husband's misdemeanors and Jufang’s pregnancy, glared at Sheng Hong, her eyes blazing with fury. Sheng Hong flushed with embarrassment and turned around to avoid looking at Wang shi, completely annoyed by Concubine Lin's malignity.

Jufang was so scared that her face was drained of all color as she cried, “Old Madam, please help me!” She cursed in her mind, ‘Concubine Lin is a god damn malicious woman. If she really wanted to help me, she would make arrangements for me after the national mourning. But she deliberately asked me to sleep with Master in the sensitive period. She is trying to hurt me.’

Old Madam Sheng waved to Jufang, who instantly trotted to her and knelt at her feet. Then Old Madam Sheng said slowly, “Well, I will ask Fang Mama to buy a dose of benign abortion Chinese medicine for you. After abortion, you can have a good rest and recuperate for a time. Then I will promote you to concubine. What do you think of this arrangement?”

Although Jufang loved the unborn child, she gritted her teeth and agreed with Old Madam Sheng at the thought of Wang shi's brutal temper and Concubine Lin's miserable future. She began to hate Concubine Lin from this moment on.

At this moment, Concubine Lin finally couldn’t help trembling in fear. A few minutes ago, she had been confident that Sheng Hong would take her back to the Sheng Mansion in a couple of months because he was a man who kept old friendships in mind and meanwhile her children would intercede for her. But with this young beautiful charming woman who hated her to the extreme by his side, Sheng Hong would be gradually affected by the woman and hate her too.

Concubine Lin was so frightened that she looked to her daughter with imploring eyes. Molan opened her mouth and wanted to intercede for her mother. But Old Madam Sheng stood up and walked toward the inner room with Cuiping’s help. After a few steps, she turned around and said to Molan, “I will go to Marquis Yongchang Household in two days. If they agree to my proposal…”

Molan’s heart skipped a beat. She shut her mouth and listened to Old Madam Sheng carefully. “Marquis Yongchang Household is more influential than the Sheng family. And you have used the ignoble tactics to approach Liang Han. So, after you marry into the Liang family, you should rely on your own efforts to please your husband and parents-in-law. It's impossible for you to depend on the Sheng family anymore,” said Old Madam Sheng in a tired voice.

A strong fighting spirit surged in Molan. She decided not to intercede for Concubine Lin for the time being and to devote herself entirely to the marriage preparation. ‘I will take everything into my own hands after marrying Liang Han. Then you will see how admirable I am!’ she thought to herself with determination.

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