Edited by Kiskaiya
Updated on 7 Sep 2019
Chapter 13: Secretly Ganging Up
A cool breeze started up during the night as autumn neared, turning the weather cooler by the day. The Ding capital was in the North, making the cold more surprising.
Under the candlelight, the young female held a book, reading it slowly as she reclined against the couch. She did not realise that the tea beside her had turned cold as she continued reading her book in a trance.
Bai Lu stared blankly at her Young Lady. It was as if in a short span of one night, her mistress had become different from before. Even quietly reading as she was now would be unusual as Shen Miao previously hated to read. But with the way things were now, if she did not know that it was her own Young Lady, Bai Lu would have thought that she had come across a noble furen.
Bai Lu did not really understand how a young lady would have such an imposing matter as she stood dazedly in her position. She only recovered when Shuang Jiang strode over and nudged her to reprimand softly, “Standing here foolishly for what?” Shuang Jiang then walked over to place a cloak around Shen Miao and warmly advised, “Young Lady, it seems that the time is no longer early and there is a need to go to Guang Wen Tang tomorrow. It would be better to rest early.”
Shen Miao shook her head, “Go and rest first, I will read for a while longer.”
What kind of reasoning would there be for a mistress to not sleep while her maid rested. Shuang Jiang could not do anything. She wanted to persuade her again but was held back by Gu Yu who was changing the tea and pulled out to the outer room with Bai Lu.
“Gu Yu, what is it?” Bai Lu did not understand, “Young Lady’s health just recovered, why did you not go up to persuade her to rest?”
“How did I not persuade?” Gu Yu’s head ached, “Would the current Young Lady listen to my words? She has been reading books for an entire day and I suspect it should be the homework from her teacher and Young Lady has made up her mind to complete it tonight. What other choice do I have?” She glanced back to the room worriedly. When Shen Miao was formally timid, she would always want the advice of others. Now that she was no longer timid, when she made up her mind, no one dared refute. As she was serving close by, Gu Yu felt one would not dare to refuse any of Shen Miao’s orders.
Just speaking plainly like that would also reveal an imposing stance. Even when Master flew into a rage, it wasn’t as scary as this, Gu Yu sighed.
In the room, Shen Miao was still reading.
She was seriously studying the contents of the book and did not leave any detail behind. If one were to look closely, they would have found that the book she was holding was “Ming Qi Official Annals”. Other than the big events that had occurred from the founding of the country to the current Ming Qi, she was only familiar with the events that would happen in the next few decades and decided to prepare some methods to prevent the tragedies from happening. As an enemy’s enemy is one’s friend, she had to find out who were the vassal families and what their current situations were. If these vassal families reached their end, it would soon be the Shen family’s turn.
The steps the Emperor took to eradicate these families were much nearer. As per what Shen Miao remembered, if there was no other mishaps, there would be a big catastrophe next month.
Before Shen Xin returned, only she could support Shen residence while she also had to defend against those wolves from the East courtyard.
As Shen Miao presumed, that night Gui Momo took the specialties that she had brought back from her trip to visit Rong Jing Tang. After she entered, Zhang Mama, who worked by Old Shen Furen’s side, was pulled away by her as Gui Momo kept talking about Shen Miao’s disobedient ways and how she would frequently lash out with words of anger.
How would Zhang Mama not understand her intentions. After accompanying her to speak a few rather neutral words, Gui Momo asked Zhang Mama to put in a good word for her with Old Shen Furen before leaving.
Just as she left Rong Qing Tang courtyard, Ren Wan Yun’s maid Xiang Lan walked over and smiled, “Gui Momo, I was looking for you.”
“Oh.” When Gui Momo squinted her eyes to see better and saw Xiang Lan, she also smiled, “Why is Miss Xiang Liang looking for me?”
“It is of no big matter.” Xiang Lan came next to Gui Momo and tugged her arm, “It was that our Mistress heard that you know a place that sells rouge and the rouge was especially pretty, thus one looked for you to ask where can it be bought.”
This was obviously an excuse indicating that Ren Wan Yun was looking for Gui Momo to have some private words. Gui Momo was well aware of it and went along with Xiang Lan, “This is a small matter. If Madam wants to listen, I will tell Madam the place. Speaking of that rouge, many of the young ladies and madams of official families love to use it…”
Following Xiang Lan to Cai Yun Yuan, she noticed the maids outside had already been sent away.
Ren Wan Yun sat on the couch. As Second Shen Master was still outside entertaining and had yet to return, she was casually doing some needlework and was most likely embroidering the edge of a pouch while she ate from a plate of grapes beside her.
This was a rare item as one would not be able to find any grapes in Ding capital at this time of year. Only Second Master had the ability to obtain a basket of them to let the females in his own courtyard eat.
Gui Momo spat in her heart. Although the Second Household did not ill-treat the First Household on the surface, whatever Shen Miao used and ate only looked magnificent on the outside but were actually things that even merchant families were unable to sell off. On the topic of food, Shen Miao would not even have the opportunity to have grapes.
As she was thinking, Ren Wan Yun finally put down the needlework in her hand and said, “Gui Momo.”
Gui Momo quickly recovered herself and answered, “Mistress, this old servant is here.”
Ren Wan Yun was already forty years old and even though she had maintained herself excellently, there were still fine lines at the corners of her eyes. But when she sat there, wearing clothes cut from good material and with manners like a Furen in charge of the household, even if she smiled, there was some imposing appearance.
She said, “I heard that you had returned. As Little Five’s heath has only just recovered, you need to take good care of her.”
Gui Momo jeered in her heart, who did not know that the East courtyard couldn’t wait for the West courtyard to be in trouble. How would Ren Wan Yun have such good intentions, this was all to pull the wool over other people’s eyes. Sure enough Ren Wan Yun continued, “In these few days, Little Five has probably been unhappy regarding the matter of falling into the water and since Eldest Brother and Sister are not around, as only a ShenShen, whatever I do will be wrong. If one were to hear anything, it could only be heard from you.”
This meant that Ren Wan Yun wanted Gui Momo to report Shen Miao’s every move to her.
Gui Momo quickly said, “It is Fifth Young Lady’s fortune to have Madam’s concern. But from what this old servant sees, Fifth Young Lady is indeed angry about the matter of falling into the water. The situation these recent days has changed quite a bit, even to the point where she has also distanced herself from this old servant. Not touching on other matters, just today, this old servant was punished and lost three months of salary for nothing.” She frowned, “This old servant heard that Fifth Young Lady had fallen into the water and was so anxious that one did not care if one’s grandson was still sick but who knew that Fifth Young Lady would lash out at this old servant, making it so this old servant’s heart could not beat ease.”
Ren Wan Yun was somewhat impatient listening to unrelated matters and asked, “At the end, it is still because of her heart. Then what is Gui Momo’s view, was there any change in attitude from Little Five pertaining to His Highness Prince Ding?”
This was what she wanted to ask the most.
Gui Momo’s eyes turned and she said, “Fifth Young Lady seems to want to draw a line with His Highness Prince Ding and did not want this old servant to mention those matters today. But this old servant has followed Fifth Young Lady for so many years and understands her temper. With regards to the issue of His Highness Prince Ding, Fifth Young Lady would not give up this easily. These words were only a young female’s exasperation and cannot be taken as the truth.”
After the words were spoken, a look of ruthlessness appeared on Ren Wan Yun’s face.