Published at 20th of March 2019 09:36:39 AM

Chapter 43

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まだまだだね (You’re Still Wet Behind the Ears)-2

Yu Mansion's gatewoman had been familiar with Sheng family's palanquin, but today she looked awkward and didn't know whether to let Minglan in or not. At this moment, Yanran's wet nurse rushed here and welcomed Minglan in. On the way, she whispered to Minglan, voice quivering, "…My lady, you treat our lady better than her own sister, so I'm not going to hide you from this. Early this morning, a girl named something took a boy and a girl kowtowing at our gate and claiming that she must meet our young lady, old master and madam, otherwise she would kill herself by crashing into the gate! Good heavens, what should we do? Why our young lady has such a bitter fate?"

After some contemplation, Minglan managed to figure out what happened based on the broken sentences. She hesitated and asked, "The girl is the…of second young master Gu of Ningyuan Marquis?"

The wet nurse was at the edge of crying and hurried to dry her eyes with handkerchief, "What luck! What has it to do with our young lady? The girl firmly claimed that she should offer tea to our young lady and begged the miss to bestow title to them three, otherwise she would keep kneeling down and never stand up. The two children's crying was heard all across the mansion. Old master was so angry that he passed out after spitting a mouthful of blood, and old madam also found it too much to stand. However, second master went to Jinan, so now there is no one that can decide. Oh, dear heavens, what kind of bad luck we have!"

Minglan felt her stomach twinge and hurried her step to backyard. Just passing the outer arch door, Minglan heard a group of servants whispering together, chitchatting, laughing or discussing. Minglan turned to the wet nurse and ordered, "Please summon up your second madam's mama in charge. How can she let them surround here and watch?"

The wet nurse was astonished and quickly realized it, so she rushed away. Minglan was familiar with Yu Mansion, so she took Xiaotao and Danju to walk straight into. Entering the courtyard, a girl in white was kneeling down in the middle with a son and a daughter in her arms. The mother and children wouldn't stop crying. Minglan slowed down and circumvented to enter right into the inner room.

As soon as she entered the house, she saw old madam Yu lying on the soft bed, a bit puffing. Yanran was sitting on the bed edge, her face pale and looking lost. At the sight of Minglan, she rushed over, closely held her hands, and murmured with quivering lips, "I'm so embarrassed…" Then she forced herself to cheer up and shouted to the girl, "Why don't you stand up? I won't accept your tea! Leave here at once!"

The girl looked up. She, looking pathetic, had a delicate face and, on her head, stains of blood resulted from constant kowtowing. Two bloodshot eyes were full of tears, "In the future, you are my lady. If you don't take us in, where should I and my children go in this big world? If you don't approve, we'd rather die here! Are you so cruel to watch us dying?"

Yanran was kind-hearted and choked on her words. Under Minglan's sight, Yanran felt even more shameful, and she shouted in a weak voice, "You stand up. I, I don't intend you to die…"

Minglan rolled eyes at what Yanran pronounced. Cabinet Yu was a self-disciplined person and never took any concubines, so Madam Yu had been living a peaceful life without any annoyance. And her daughter-in-law never dared to offend her. Therefore, Yanran, growing up under the protection and care of grandparents, had never encountered such a situation. Naturally, she was less resistant to such an assault. If Wang shi or Rulan or Molan was put in this situation, then… Minglan suddenly began to miss the high fighting spirits of those three women. At the sight of Old Madam Yu puffing out of vexation, Minglan bit her teeth and moved to whisper to Old Madam Yu, "Please do forgive me, I'm going to overstep the line."

Old Madam Yu tried to open her eyes a bit and, seeing it was Minglan, she understood in mind but didn't have the energy to lift up her voice. She just uttered amidst puffing, "You are the same as my own granddaughter. Go…go ahead and prop up for my useless girl!"

Minglan stopped at the door and, staring at the girl at the footsteps, asked in a loud and clear voice, "Who is that kneeling down there? Shouldn't you tell us your name before my sister accepts your tea?"

The girl slowly raised up her head. The respect all servants showed toward Minglan made her mistake Minglan as second young lady of Yu family, so she paused crying and answered, "My…My name is Manniang. These are my poor children!"

Minglan's expression was soft and she smiled, "Being taken as a concubine is more than offering tea to legal wife. There's a saying goes, 'A troublesome family embodies strife between women.' Even an ordinary family will ask the woman's background before taking her as a concubine, let alone an aristocrat family in the capital like Marquis Ningyuan. If my sister immediately accepts your tea before knowing well about who you are, wouldn't Yu family be laughed at for having no rules?"

The clear and well-reasoned articulation gained approval from all nodding others present. Manniang was a bit shocked and looked at Minglan in surprise. At this moment, a girl servant brought a soft bench for Minglan and she sat down in a graceful manner, then asked, smiling, "Now I have to, in the name of my grandmother and sister, ask you a few questions, so that my sister might accept your tea. I wonder if you want to answer my questions kneeling down or standing up."

Minglan's manner made all woman servants stop their discussion and view Manniang and her children as a joke. Manniang bit her teeth and stood up, answering in a low voice, "I'd like to answer your questions, young lady."

One of the girl servants fetched Minglan a tea tray, Minglan picked up the tea cup and took a sip of it. Looking well-prepared, she then asked gently, "Are you from Gu Mansion?" Manniang bowed her head and replied, "…No."

Minglan sneered to herself and continued, "If not, who are your parents? What do they do for a living?"

Manniang's face suddenly turned pale and she stuttered with shaking lips, "…I, I don't have parents but an elder brother. He makes business on his own…"

"What kind of business?" Minglan pressed hard.

"At…Caoyun Dock." Manniang's volume was almost reduced to nothing.

Minglan was about to comment that the dock porter was also a legitimate profession when, suddenly, one of old madam's old servant came over and said something. Minglan frowned, "What's the relation between you and Liuxi Troupe?"

Manniang's voice was like that of a mosquito, "My brother used to fetch and carry there."

Minglan understood at once. As she had guessed, a playboy like second young lord Gu only knew girls either from brothels or theaters. She sounded baffled, "Then it's a difficult thing! I'm afraid my sister cannot do your justice. Why don't you beg Gu family?"

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Manniang kneeled down again with a slam, and kept kowtowing, her tears rolling down, "Gu family won't take me due to my low origin. I have no choice… I can only beg your mercy. My children are getting older day by day. They should have a family after all!"

Minglan felt pity for the two innocent and ignorant children who were only three or two years old, so she asked speculatively, "Even if Gu family don't accept you, they may take the children! But I'm afraid you have to sacrifice yourself."

Manniang was panicked and shouted, "Are you trying to take my children from me? I didn't expect you should be so cruel with such a beautiful face! Without my children, I'd rather die…"

With that, she heavily cast her head onto the ground, making servants standing by rush to held her.

Minglan began to sneer, and her tone gradually turned tough, "What a scheming girl! You knew Gu family wouldn't accept you, so you targeted at my sister, making her a disobedient daughter-in-law. You're not taken yet. How dare you disobey the seniors like this!"

Manniang showed hesitation in her eyes, and then bowed her head, begging in a pitiful voice, "Please, young lady. Show mercy to me! The saying goes, it's better to save a life than to build a Buddhist pagoda. The lives of me and my children are all in your hands! In the future, I'll serve the same husband with my lady. I'll be respectful and obedient, do everything as she orders. My children are your sister's children…"

She hadn't finished yet when Yanran's faint crying came over from the inner room and Old Madam Yu puffed even harder, "Drive her out! Drive her out! Cancel the marriage! Cancel it! …" The voice was too low to be heard outside the room but Minglan, standing at the door, perceived that, so she stood up in no time and scolded, "Shut up!"

A girl's voice was sharp and high-pitched, so everyone in the yard was astounded at once. Minglan walked toward Manniang, glared at her from overhead and questioned coldly, "What do you mean by 'serve the same husband'? Without a match-maker nor the bride-price, our sister has nothing to do with Gu family. Any more nonsense, I'll slap you in the face!"

Manniang was stunned. She didn't expect that this flower-like pretty girl could be furious as such-in one moment she was polite and gentle, but in another she turned fierce and horrible. Manniang was scared, but at the sight of so many people surrounding them, she summoned up courage and replied loudly, "If you want us dead, then we shall die!"

As she announced, she picked up her children and dashed toward the wall. At once, servants hurried to stop her who wouldn't cease her shouting and crying. The two children were also frightened, shouting and crying. At a time, the yard was bombarded with crying of "mom" and "my children"-a total mess.

At this moment, the wet nurse finally took mama in charge here. In view of the scene, she immediately ordered people to leave and let two strong old women servants hold Manniang from both sides. Manniang was too scared to cry. Minglan slightly waved and watched them coldly. Her voice was clear and slow, "Low origin is not your fault. You could have enjoyed a peaceful life marrying to an ordinary folk; but why did you mess with a young lord when you already knew your origin wouldn't be accepted by a noble family like Gu? Why are you crying and struggling here after messing with the young lord? Are you forced to do that? ... Hum, requesting my sister to accept you is to make her unfilial; crying and screaming here and leave Yu Mansion discussed by others is to make her disloyal; constantly calling her lady is to make her unchaste. She is a lady as pure as jade. How dare you to destroy her fame! - You're neither her friend nor relatives and showed up here from nowhere just to make her unfilial, disloyal and unchaste. It can't be too much even if I beat you up and throw you away!"

Minglan's reprimand was well-reasoned so the servants who just now felt pity for Manniang began to despise. Being aware that the situation turned disadvantageous for her, Manniang attempted to argue, but Minglan opened her mouth in advance, "Now you have two choices. The first one, you leave by yourself and Yu Mansion will help you back to the capital. The second, you are lifted out from the back gate with mouth and limbs bond and thrown on a boat to the capital! Choose one now!" The mama in charge was shrewd, who, on the words, ordered others to take over ropes and straps.

Manniang's a pretty face changed several times. She bit hard her lower lip and added in a fragile voice while looking at Minglan pitifully, "Young lady, I…"

Minglan interrupted her again, staring at her, and said coldly, "You just need to answer yes or no! Mama, are ropes ready?"

The latter sentence was said to the mama in charge, who responded at once, "Well-prepared! I'm waiting for your orders!" The other old women servants were also poised to take actions on order.

Manniang stared at Minglan, who stared firmly back without flinching. She had been witnessing Wang shi and Concubine Lin, along with their daughters respectively, fighting for years, so this situation was just a small case for Minglan.

The two looked at each other for a long time, then Manniang lost her spirit, whom, holding her two children by the hand, was dragged out by servants.

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