Published at 4th of May 2019 10:05:22 AM

Chapter 82

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Feast for One-month Baby, Title of Nobility and Unexpected Calamity (1)

Wenying recalled what she heard about him, “His name is Liang Han, around seventeen or eighteen, and is the son master and madam Liang had when they were old.” Then she shot a stare to Madam Zhang and her daughter over there and said, lowering her head, with hatred, “My mother has found for them numerous families, but Aunt Zhang are so picky that she wants both status and family background! Madam Liang mentioned once that her youngest son was too naughty and disobedient, so for her son she just wanted a girl with virtues and exterior regardless of wealth or family background. Once this was known to Aunt Zhang, she started to urge mother to buddy up with Madam Yongchang, making even my fraternal aunt also embarrassed. Hem, I’m not thinking evil of her, but she has to be clear of who she is! It’s understandable that she wants a great son-in-law since her husband has passed away, but shouldn’t she consider whether she deserves it or not?!”

As Wenying was talking, Minglan couldn’t help taking a glance at Molan. She saw Molan’s face turn red out of heat out of no reason, forcing a smile she bantered, “Hey, Sister Wenying, you’re not yet married, why do you care so much about your mother-in-law?”

Madam Shoushan did need some care right now. The third time that her sister-in-law started to brag how meek and elegant Zhang Xiuwen was in a tone which indicated the wish to forge a marriage, Madam Shoushan was very embarrassed. Madam Yongchang, on the other hand, looked more and more indifferent. Upset, Madam Shoushan cut in, “Where is your big daughter-in-law?”

Madam Yuan paused for a second and sighed, “She’s not feeling well and taking a rest.” Taking a glimpse of Hualan from the corner of her eyes, she added as if she didn’t care at all, “I’m also doomed to be tired all the time, having no one to help me with domestic affairs.”

Hualan’s face was frozen for a moment and Madam Shoushan cut in at once, “Just yesterday I invited imperial doctor Hu to feel pulse for her. I asked him everything in details and there is nothing serious. I’m afraid she just harbors hatred in heart and feels bad emotionally. I have to say that you shouldn’t only care about the elder one and take it seriously when she just frowns. Care more about the younger one. Just before the Spring Festival, she was eight-month pregnant and you should discipline her? There’s no such a mother-in-law like you! Look at her pale face. I beg she hasn’t recovered yet!”

Wang shi and Hualan felt grateful to her. Madam Yuan looked awkward. This madam most liked to educate people, but since she was eldest sister, Madam Yuan shouldn’t talk back and had to just listen to her.

In fact, that time Madam Yuan only let Hualan stand as punishment for an hour before her husband arrived at the site and reprimanded her hard. Ceaseless old women servants came and cried to her, saying that Hualan’s belly was hurt and she couldn’t get off bed. Then was her son, also coming to cry to her. After this incident was known to others, neighbors and relatives all gossiped about her being biased to her own niece and maltreated the daughter from another family.

Madam Yuan pulled her the corners of her mouth to force a smile, “The elder one isn’t as capable as Hualan, so I have to trouble her more…”

Before she barely finished, Madam Shoushan interred, “After you two pass away, the marquis mansion will be handed over to the elder couple right? No matter how capable your younger daughter-in-law is, could she take over the work? If the elder one is really incapable, I’d be happy to help you find someone who is capable to let her fill my nephew’s house, so that in the future there is a person who can help him. The mansion shouldn’t be put into a hand of disasters!” 

The speech made both Madam Yuan and Madam Zhang’s faces turn pale while Wang shi couldn’t feel more comfortable. Hualan tried every means to lower down her head and conceal her smile. Madam Shoushan’s speech was sharp but her tone was full of caring for maternal relative. In addition, all females around them were friends that were familiar with their domestic situation, so nobody was surprised by the words.

This straight-forward madam was the eldest daughter in her original family and had been mature and capable since she was young. Her parents thought highly of her and her younger brother Marquis Zhongqin also trusted her very much. As a tough woman who managed to assist her weak and honest husband in going through tremendous hardships to achieve success, she had been able to find her son a better wife, but to honor her younger brother’s face, she approved of the marriage with Wenying. In front of her, Madam Yuan had always been a little inferior, yet Madam Shoushan got along quite well with Huanlan.

Mandam Shoushan knew that she shouldn’t push too hard, but on the other hand, she worried that her sister-in-law went too far in her attempt to cuddle up with Marquis Yongchang. Therefore, at the sight of Wang shi, she smiled, “Please don’t laugh at me.”

Wang shi quickly shook her head. This was the kind of joke that she would be willing to watch all day long. She moved near to Madam Shoushan, “I know you’re caring about your maternal family. As families, it’s never improper to care them too much.”

Madam Shoushan smiled and pointed at Rulan, “Your daughter is more and more beautiful. Hey, there is another one.”

Molan was preparing long over there and hearing this, she stepped forward with a smile at once and bowed shyly. Madam Shoushan pointed at her and said to Madam Yongchang, “This child is best at poems and assays and is obedient as well.”

Madam Yongchang nodded, saying, “A pretty child indeed. Madam Sheng, you’re so blessed.” Then no more was said.

Molan immediately smiled, “You’re flattering me, madam.” Though she had a full belly of words to say, Madam Yongchang’s uncaring look made her feel hard to start.

Hualan’s eyes flashed and she smiled behind hand, “Aunt, my youngest sister is here too.” 

Madam Shoushan said with joy, “Hurry, let me take a look.”

Hualan quickly pulled Minglan and Wenying over from behind. They had met Wenying before, but at the sight of Minglan, Madam Shoushan and Madam  were both overwhelmed by the beauty Minglan demonstrated. Then Madam Shoushan held Minglan’s hand and smiled at Hualan, “No wonder you always praise her to me. A delicate girl indeed.” Then she blamed, “So mean your Old Madam has been! Why has she hidden the girl from us for so long? Would we take her away?”

Then she pulled Minglan over to sit by her, asking, in details, her birthday, pastimes and food and clothes she preferred. Minglan honestly answered every question. Her straightforward nature and clever yet artful speech were much to the liking of Madam Shoushan and made her grow more fond of Minglan, forgetting about Zhang Xiumei and Molan next to her.

Teardrops were flashing in Zhang Xiumei’s eye. She stepped back to Madam Yuan who was pulling a long face.

Molan felt unfair and suddenly thought of the situation the first time that Concubine Lin met Concubine Wei whose beauty couldn’t be concealed by her modest clothes at all. Though weak and stupid she was, Sheng Hong lost half of his heart to her. Molan cursed to herself that the two madams were so stupid as to only be able to recognize exterior but didn’t pay attention to inner cultivation, ignoring her outstanding talents and learning!

Madam Shoushan held Minglan’s hands and praised her for quite a while, then she turned around to give her in-law a staring eye, “Did you lose your mouth? Say something.”

Not until this moment did Madam Yongchang pull a smile from her uncaring face and say slowly, “If I had such a beautiful daughter, I’d also hide her from the public.”

Wang shi joined her and joked, “This child is raised up and most loved by our old madam as to couldn’t do without her for a while, so she barely meets guests; please do forgive her if she did anything inappropriate.”

Madam Yongchang smiled, “Your Old Madam has the strictest rules. How could a girl taught by her behave inappropriately?”

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Wang shi took a glance at Molan who was standing next to them with a lowering head, and her tone became politer. With Hualan’s joking around, the climate was quite harmonious. However, Minglan could feel the shivering in her scalp and several beams of scorching rage from behind her back which seemed to pierce through her, an indeed unexpected calamity. Therefore, taking the opportunity the madams were talking, she, using the excuse of bring a gift to Zhuang and asking Hualan to find a servant to take her there, managed to flee from the site with Wenying’s help.

After passing through a small half-moon door, she came to the Zhuang’s house and saw the little girl wearing a big silk short coat fully embroidered with pomegranate flower. She looked down and dumb and couldn’t be cheered up by the mama standing next to her in a black coat. Zhuang’s face was full of depression and only spread a smile when she saw Minglan and sweetly called her “sixth aunt”. Minglan took over a small package from a girl servant and handed her the new doll she had made for Zhuang.

Colorful threads were used to embroider the chubby cotton doll’s cute eyes, nose and mouth and it even wore a piece of silk coat. The curving eyes looked very pleasing and adorable. Zhuang held it against her own apple-red little face and didn’t want to let it go. With a wide grin, she got off the brick bed on her two little stumbling feet and tried to pull Minglan to play outside. The servants around hurriedly help her wear a red velvet cloak.

Minglan knew what Zhuang was worrying about. It was inevitable to feel lost when she suddenly degraded from an only daughter to “the sister of a younger brother”, so Minglan followed her and took her tender hands in her own. The two girls, little and old, walked slowly with laughter.

“Sixth aunt, mom doesn’t like me anymore, does she?” Zhuang lowered her head, “Mom didn’t care about me ever after I have a little brother.”

Minglan patted her little head, understanding, and comforted her, “That’s not the case. It’s because your brother just came and everyone is happy to see a fresh person. If you have a new doll, won’t you like it very much? Things will get better later. You’re such a clever and pretty girl, the apple of your mother’s eyes, why would she not care about you?”

It was easy to coax a child. Zhuang stopped worrying and joyfully invited Minglan to play together in the garden. While walking, she told childish jokes, but at the sight of Minglan’s unhappy face, she asked, “Sixth aunt, why are you frowning?”

“I’m thinking about something.”

“About what?” 

Minglan paused for a while and asked with her head lowering down to meet Zhuang’s eyes, “Zhuang, I have a question for you. Do you prefer to have new clothes, toys and food everyday but your mom and dad love your younger siblings more or do you prefer to have no food, clothes or toys but your mom and dad love you only?”

The little girl slanted her head to one side to think about the question. Her tender face squeezed towards the center like a steamed bun. After a long while, she answered painfully, “Can I have both good staff and mom and dad loving me at the same time?” 

Minglan laughed and replied seriously, “Everyone has this same wish, but you can choose just one.”

Zhuang had a painful time choosing and hesitated, “It’d be better to have mom and dad’s love, right?”

Minglan nodded with a smile and took a long breath out, “I agree with you.”

A few more steps forward, Zhuang stopped suddenly. She looked up, long lashes flickering, and asked seriously, “Sixth aunt, what if I have no good staff but many sisters and brothers to share my parents’ love?”

Minglan almost fell and slipped down onto the ground. She stood straight, replying, “That’s…not likely the case.” Reminded of He Hongwen who was as gentle as fountain water, she shook her head. There was no such thing as one hundred percent reliable in the world. It was just a matter of risk level. In general, the unfaithful rate of a nerd was somewhat lower than that of a CEO.  

The two lingered some time. Minglan looked up and found the sun was in the middle of the sky. She remembered that Wenying said the feast would be held in the side hall. It should be started at this time. It’d be improper to keep hiding away from it, so she asked servants to take Zhuang back and she herself walked slowly to the side hall.

She has been here twice, the place wasn’t too big, and she had wandered around twice by Wenying’s lead, so she was familiar with the direction. She didn’t fear to get lost even if she strolled in a slow pace along the otter tree that had just blossomed in the garden. Just as she was enjoying herself appreciating the flowers when she suddenly saw, under a seductively green otter tree, a slim long figure of a man standing under the tree, vague but seemingly familiar.

The man seemed to have heard the footsteps and turned around. After seeing clearly who he was, Minglan was caught by nervousness.

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