Published at 16th of November 2016 07:07:59 PM

Chapter 5.2

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The Legend of the Concubine’s Daughter Minglan Chapter 5 Part 2


The chaos in Sheng household originated from the rising power of Concubine Lin. Have to say, Concubine Lin gave up being a legitimate madame outside and would rather be a concubine, she has already observed and marked the person. She is not the least bit like the muddle-headed Second Sister You1.


She found Sheng Hong. Reason being that she knows he has an independent character and not a man who is suppressed by the wife. She also knows of sufferings of his early years as a concubine-born and what he regarded as cutting point. She got a invincible position for herself in the Sheng household.

Yao Yiyi feels there is no need to blame Father Sheng Hong. The only thing that can be said is that there are no principles in forgiveness in a man towards his lover and yet there are conditions for respect towards a wife whom he does not have much love for. Sheng Hong this kind of feudalistic scholar who received education, although scrupulously abide by etiquette but being a young bureaucrat who has goals and culture, he in the end has requirements to feelings. Wang shi may be considered as an arranged marriage for him but if after marriage, both parties used their hearts to engage, the arranged marriage also could produce true love between a couple who has deep feelings and importance for each other. What a pity Wang shi made many mistakes in this aspect. In comparison, Concubine Lin with regards to Sheng Hong is actually the result of freedom in love. In the circumstances where nobody knew, the two sneaky and in secret. The more feelings is being suppressed, the more the stronger the flavour. Surely Sheng Hong at that time used his real heart.

Xu Zhimo treats Lin Huiyin and Lu Xiaoman with profound love and treats Zhang Youyi with cruelness.2 Simply cannot believe that they are the same person, compared to the very gifted scholar Xu, Sheng Hong can still be considered temperate.

It should be that Concubine Lin’s foresight is not bad, her luck even better. Sheng Hong is not the weak and muddle-headed Jia Lian. He climbed from being a concubine-born to today’s position. He is very clear that there are only two areas that the concubine can be bullied by the legitimate wife, everyday livelihood and raising children. Therefore he carried it through, no matter the consequences and simply giving Concubine Lin independent source of money. With money, her back can be straight. Furthermore taking the initiative to break the rules and insisted to let Concubine Lin raise her children.

But if this happens, the rules will be obliterated. With the passage of time, Concubine Lin bore and raised children, Wang is also unable to use feelings to drag her husband back, Concubine Lin’s position will become more and more firm. She starts to train her aides, gradually being equals with Wang shi. Graduallay in and out of the Sheng household has been formed into two camps and the fire of the war are ever more critical. This biological mother of Yao Yiyi’s current body, Concubine Wei, is the innocent cannon folder in this kind of situation where the wives and concubines are stand on opposites.

《Guliang Zhuan》3 says: Do not take concubines, take wives. In other words, concubines have no right to support themselves to be wives, man with concubines and no wife are still considered to be unmarried. If the legitimate wife dies, no matter how many concubines the husband has, he is also a widower and must look for a legitimate wife in another good family.

But the rules are dead, people are alive. Moreover this is only rules and not laws so there are fishes that have escaped the net. For example, there is also Jiaoxing4 who was a lucky concubine being lifted up to legitimate. Although there are not many cases but they exist.

Yao Yiyi studied law, she knows. Typically speaking the feudal society’s laws protect the rights and benefits of men. Once the man’s entire interest lies on a woman other than the legitimate wife, the situation of the legitimate wife stepping down for another will happen. This is very sorrowful but it is still better. The unlucky Classmate Chen Shimei suffered a stab from Grandfather Bao. Not because cast his wife and married another but it is because he committed a crime of killing5. Man who committed the crime of remarrying will not be beheaded. Of course in the ancient times’ strict code of ethics, if people like Sheng Hong who wants to bring his official career a level up, that cannot be done because of this ill-reputation.

Sheng Hong did not bother the first few years. His feelings with Concubine Lin are like the sea without borders, he was unwilling to go ashore6. He is after all an intellectual feudalistic scholar, not a Republic of China’s poet who takes it upon himself to break through the chained feudalistic system. His passion towards Concubine Lin waned in the end because of the maiden family of Wang shi, who intervene to accelerate this process.

The Wang family exerted people and power, still thought of the beauty trap. This trick indeed is not fresh but is preciously effective. From the olden times till today, from the courts to the common folk, it has been time-tested. But unexpectedly Concubine Lin’s fighting strength is extremely strong, she even carved the faces of several rather good-looking maids, it actually also could not drag Sheng Hong back. All in all, Concubine Lin was born in an official house, good-looking and elegant, romance in the air when she converse with Sheng Hong on verses, songs and poetic essays. Even Wang shi could not interrupt let alone several maids.

Thus Wang used the unconventional plan, found a female commoner who is just in a predicament, Wei shi. Although she did not have very good literature education but she possess the most direct and fastest results of every woman’s strong point, beauty.

As expected, a thousand catty of love cannot be equalled to one-quarter catty of chest. The moment Sheng Hong saw Wei shi, he was immediately smitten. She cannot read, no problem, he will teach her. She does not understand verses, painting and calligraphy, no problem, he will give advice. A very close relationship, be attended by a beauty, how not to be happy;  in addition, Wei shi’s nature is tender and genuine, Sheng Hong actually really liked her.

This time Concubine Lin is worried, the only thing that she relies on is Sheng Hong’s doting. How can she tolerate others sleeping beside him on the narrow bed, she absolutely would not allow others to step into her domain. She wants to torment Concubine Wei repeatedly. In the beginning, she did not wish for her life, only expecting to lose the unborn child. The best would be that her body is ruined.

But Concubine Wei is especially out of luck, right away breathing her last.

Concubine Wei’s death allowed Sheng Hong to be suddenly sobered. Even though there is no affection for her like that of Concubine Lin’s, she is still after all a woman whom he shared the bed with. Seeing that she died in a pool of blood, Sheng Hong at last realises the contradiction in the inner household has already intensified. Being an official who ignores the truth and discrepancies for years, how can Sheng Hong not understand that Concubine Wei’s death is actually the result of the ruined rules of the household.

The bitter battle of the wife and concubines allowed Sheng Hong to tremble with fear, thus he is determined to rectify. He must recover that good household rules of rank, then he ought to abandon over partial love towards Concubine Lin. Climbing ashore from the ocean of feelings, standing from the perspective of the head of an established family, running the household fairly.

However even if it is this way, he still dare not completely hand Concubine Lin and her children to Wang shi for her to manage. He knows these two women’s hostility perhaps cannot be smoothed out in one or two days.

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Wang shi basically got what she wanted this time. Even if she still cannot fight over Concubine Lin in terms of love, at least she obtained the position of sole mistress in the household. All along, the legitimate wife is always guarded towards the concubines. Especially when facing treasured concubines, the feeling of being in a crisis is stronger. Just like what Daiyu said if it not the east wind that overpowers the west wind, it is the west wind that overpowers the east wind.

Baoyu’s mother towards Concubine Zhao, that kind of indifference attitude is established in a situation where the strength of two parties has a large disparity. One is from a rich and powerful Wang family, the other entire family are slaves, not even considered free, she herself is a family born servant.

And the reason why Wang Xifeng is so afraid of Second Sister You but disregard Qiutong is because Second Sister You is a treasured concubine. Moreover she got married for so many years and is already twenty over years but still has not given birth to a son. This is basically classified under violating the seven misconduct7, there is no reason not to allow concubines. Only because she has the support of her maiden family that there is no one to say her. The moment Second Sister You gives birth to a son, not saying that it will replace her, at least it will endanger her position. Therefore one Wang Xifeng heard matters regarding Second Sister You, she immediately unsheathed her sword.

Wives and concubines striving is a very complex proposition. It embodies wisdom, willpower, courage, family background, character and of course luck. All kinds of factors are at work inside, it only can be said that superiority is still better to be on the wives’ side. Concubines even if they have children but breaking through a tight encirclement and lifted to be legitimate, the probability is actually not high.

The entire literature, Dream of Red Chambers, there are so many unlucky woman but only one with the luck of Jiaoxing. Afterwards whether Ping’er and Xiangling was lifted to be the legitimate is still to be said, even if they were lifted to be the legitimate, it is also when Xue Pan and Jia Lian are down and out. It is not considered to be any good thing as big as the sky.

And so this pitiful Concubine Wei is merely one of the numerous unlucky small concubines. Her death is like the minute ocean spray in the big sea, although stirring up a little activity yet it was wordlessly covered up. Subsequently, Sheng Hong and Wang shi for the sake of the clan’s face, changed the servants and maids within the household one by one. And Concubine Lin obviously would not mention, gradually there is no one who will mention the death of Concubine Wei again in the Sheng household. So much so that there are few who knows of this beautiful and weak woman who died tragically.

Yao Yiyi thought till here, again has no willpower to survive. Since she does not have a powerful concubine to be her birth mother, she is also not born of the legitimate line, her position in the Sheng household will be very fragile in the future. This time her reincarnation is really of little value. Compared to the bad, it is somewhat good, compared to the good yet bad. Compared to the top, it is very lacking, compared to the bottom yet there is not much surplus.

What should be done so that life can be properly lived in this world? The five years old, approaching six, Sheng Minglan began to solemnly examine this survival issue.

1. A minor character from Dream of Red Chambers, she married a notorious womanizer, Jia Lian with a jealous primary wife and she eventually died by the primary wife
2. Xu Zhimo is a famous modern poet, Zhang Youyi is his wife through arranged marriage and the other two are his lovers. On a side note, the famous wuxia writer Jin Yong is his cousin. 
3. One of the classic book of ancient Chinese history and deals mainly with affairs of families.
4. A maid from the Dreams of Red Chamber who later became a concubine then made to be the legitimate wife after the previous one died from illness.
5. Based off from Chinese opera where Chen Shimei became the son-in-law of the emperor killed his former wife, Grandfather Bao aka Bao Zheng, an extremely righteous judge was in charge of this case.
6. 上岸 (Shang An): Figuratively means to give up the evil ways and return to virtue
7. A man is not allowed to divorce or demote his legitimate wife unless she has broken one of the seven misconduct, in this case it is known as incapable of bearing sons and it is a misconduct as it threatens the family’s bloodline

A life, for the “face” of the family gets buried just like that. I think I would question my survival ability in that position. Next up, the family gets together to pay respects to granny!

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