Matron Zhao continuously cried out in her heart. Her luck was truly awful today, being ordered back and forth by people.
She hurried over to the Rongan Hall and reported the situation. As expected, the old madam had her ask the madam to go over, but wasn’t going to show up herself. Matron Zhao had long expected this response, but without her mistress giving the order, she as the servant wouldn’t dare make the decision. She thus went to ask Shen Yi Yao over.
Before long, Shen Yi Yao arrived.
“Second sis-in-law, why are you sitting in such a place? I was delayed earlier, please forgive me.”
“You also know this place isn’t fit for sitting? Then why did you lock Ah Yan in here?”
Shen Yi Yao was a little frozen. She looked at Second Madam Shen’s angry expression as well as Yan Yan who was in her arms.
This was the small worship hall?
Shen Yi Yao had never been to the small worship hall before. She merely heard that the Weiyuan Marquis Estate punished the household sons who had done wrong by locking them up in here.
She looked around in a panic. The walls were blackened and there were countless cobwebs in the corners. The sunlight shining into the room allowed her to clearly see the air was permeated with dust…..
Her face immediately turned pale and she finally understood why her sister-in-law was enraged, and also why Ah Yan never gave her a glance after she arrived.
“See for yourself what sort of place this is. Just what did Ah Yan do wrong? Why did you have to lock her up in such a place? Weren’t you the one who gave birth to her? You couldn’t have locked your own daughter up anywhere else, and had to choose such a derelict place?!”
Shen Yi Yao’s eyes turned red as she looked in panic at her sister-in-law and then at her daughter, her lips twitching. “I, I…..”
Seeing Shen Yi Yao’s helpless appearance, Second Madam Shen’s anger suddenly subsided quite a bit. She let out a sigh, “Little sis, what am I going to do with you?”
Shen Yi Yao was the Zhenguo Madam’s daughter. When Second Madam Shen had married into the Shen household, Shen Yi Yao was only nine years old. Second Madam Shen could be said to have watched her grow up. Therefore, seeing Shen Yi Yao in such a state, Second Madam Shen understood that she truly didn’t know, and a feeling of helplessness arose.
“Second sis-in-law, I didn’t know it was like this…” She explained in panic. “Ah Yan, don’t blame mom, ok? Mom really didn’t know this place was like this….”
“What’s the use of your servants then? Didn’t they tell you what this place was like?” Speaking to this point, Second Madam Shen’s sharp gaze swept over Fang Cao and Fang Cui, who had come with Shen Yi Yao.
Having managed the Zhenguo Duke Estate for so many years, she knew all the shenanigans servants got into! Sometimes the master would be unaware since there were many things in the estate, but how could the servants be unaware? If the master was unaware, it was only because the servants didn’t want them to know about it.
The two of them fell to their knees with a thud. “Madam, us servants truly didn’t know what this place was like…..”
“Second sis-in-law, these two have served by my side for a long time. They definitely didn’t know it was like this….”
“Then what have you been up to? Your daughter was locked up and you never came to take a look?”
Shen Yi Yao’s face was completely red. “Ah Mo was sick, I…..”
“Also, what about Ah Yan’s personal maids and grannies? Didn’t they come take a look to see how their own miss was doing?”
As expected of Second Madam Shen. Her words easily pointed out the key points of the matter. Mei Xiang and Mei Xue who had been waiting a long time by the side walked out and knelt on the spot.
“Aunt, us servants had come before, but there are still a set of doors in front of the small worship hall. Those doors had been locked by someone and the key was taken away. The two of us servants looked all over for help. We also weren’t able to get into the madam’s Jinse Pavilion. We’ve tried sending in word, saying that we wanted to see how the miss was doing, but were blocked every time.”
Mei Xiang spoke ambiguously, and there wasn’t a hint of blaming the master. But Second Madam Shen was able to hear some clues. However, since it was her younger sis-in-law’s estate matters, it wasn’t convenient for her to say anything about it. Being overly fussy would only draw dislike, and she also had to consider her younger sis-in-law’s dignity in front of others.
Her complicated gaze fell upon Shen Yi Yao, who looked apprehensive yet didn’t seem to have noticed the hidden meaning behind those words. Her voice grew gentler: “Ah Mo got sick again? Is he recovered?”
Seeing Second Madam Shen change the subject and no longer pursue the matter, not only did Shen Yi Yao let out a breath, the maids and grannies all did the same.
“Mo’er had a fever these past few days, and only just got better.”
Second Madam Shen’s brows furrowed and she didn’t say anything. She knew this nephew of hers had always been frail. She was just about to ask to see him when Yan Yan in her arms grabbed her clothes.
“Second aunt, Ah Mo got a fever because he fell into water.”
“Fell into water?”
Yan Yan nodded and said: “Ah Yan was also locked up due to little bro’s matter. That day Yan Hong pushed Ah Mo into the water, and none of the maids and grannies there bothered to help and merely watched the show. I was angry at seeing this after getting there and kicked them all into the water…..”
“Ah Yan…..” Shen Yi Yao furrowed her brows and interrupted Yan Yan. “Mom has told you many times, Hong’er didn’t push Mo’er on purpose. It was just an accident between naughty children. How can you speak this way about your own brother….”
Seeing Shen Yi Yao still explaining for others, a rush of anger flared up in Yan Yan’s chest. “My only brother is Ah Mo. How is someone from a concubine worthy to be my brother? It’s your own matter if you are willing to be sisters with a concubine. I am the true-blooded miss of this household, and I don’t have a mistress-born brother who would push my little bro into the water!”
Concubine Pei had heard about the matter and hurried over, deeply afraid something would happen outside of her control. Unexpectedly, the first words she heard after arriving were Yan Yan’s. She instinctively covered her face and came in crying.
“Third miss, how can you say that? Even if Hong’er isn’t born from the principal wife, he’s still the marquis’s son. Also, how can the madam stand it if you speak of her this way?”
Shen Yi Yao was both angry and panicked, scolding: “Ah Yan, why is your mouth so vile? Who taught you to speak so maliciously?”
“What did Ah Yan say that was wrong? As the true-blooded miss of the Weiyuan Marquis and the grandchild of the Zhenguo Duke Estate, can she be discussed on the same level as someone from a concubine?” Second Madam Shen’s tone held some contempt.
She was raised in a major household and was also born of the principal line. Before she was married, she had seen her own mom’s sullenness at having to deal with those concubines and their children. Therefore, she hated those people to the extreme. In her eyes, those people were shameful things filled with dirty thoughts. They were filled with wicked tricks and methods, and none of them were any good.
This was like how cats and mice were natural enemies. Concubines and principal wives were the same. Every principal wife disdained these vixen concubines. Especially since Concubine Pei used her tears as a cover-up to incite conflict the moment she entered, making Second Madam Shen truly disgusted. Therefore, her words were merciless.
Shen Yi Yao looked at the hysterically crying Concubine Pei on one side, then at the stern-faced Second Madam Shen, and also didn’t know what she should do. In the end, she could only glare at Yan Yan who had caused this situation.
Yan Yan felt heartache and couldn’t help but tighten her grip. Second Madam Shen gave Shen Yi Yao a glance and her brows furrowed even tighter. She had always known her younger sis-in-law was simpleminded, but never expected her to be muddled to this extent. She actually started blaming her daughter without thinking things through.
“Just how did Ah Mo fall into the water? In such a large estate, no one bothered about it?”
Shen Yi Yao stammered: “Second sis-in-law, we’ve already said it was an accident due to children being naughty. Don’t listen to Ah Yan’s nonsense….”
Second Madam Shen felt Yan Yan’s small figure in her arms tremble and suddenly the thought of no longer wanting to remain here sprung up. She handed Yan Yan over to one of the grannies and stood up.
“I’m going back first; people are waiting back home.” She spoke with a dull tone, and then called Matron Zhao over. Her lips curled, her smile was a little cold. “This madam will head back first, so I won’t stop by the old madam’s place. I will report things to my in-laws upon my return. I feel your Weiyuan Marquis Estate owes our Zhenguo Duke Estate an explanation.”
Second Madam Shen didn’t respond to Shen Yi Yao.
Matron Zhao smiled rigidly: “What does Second Madam Shen mean?”
“Ah Mo is the estate’s heir, and the future successor of the marquis title. He fell into the water mysteriously, and it even implicated my poor niece into being locked up?” Second Madam Shen sneered coldly and said: “Don’t think everyone is a fool. At least, those at the Zhenguo Duke Estate are not fools.”
After speaking, she took her people and left majestically.
Ah Yan was carried by the granny the entire way out of the Weiyuan Marquis Estate and got onto Second Madam Shen’s carriage.
Second Madam Shen saw her dejected expression and couldn’t help but stroke her head comfortingly. But since she wasn’t clear on the details of the matter, she also didn’t know what she should say.
Before they arrived at the Zhenguo Duke Estate, Yan Yan fell asleep. She had probably been holding on for some time, and now that she knew she was safe, her weariness caught up to her.
The Zhenguo Duke was there as well. Second Madam Shen saluted and the Zhenguo Madam urgently asked: “Where’s my little Ah Yan?”
The Zhenguo Duke was able to tell his daughter-in-law’s expression was a little off and patted his old partner’s hand comfortingly.
Second Madam Shen sat down and recounted all that had happened on her trip, including some of the hints she had seen and her own conjectures.
After the Zhenguo Madam finished listening, she turned pale with fright and said: “How is that possible? Yao’er wouldn’t be that muddleheaded!”
Second Madam Shen’s expression was complicated and she consoled: “Mom, don’t worry. It could also be your daughter-in-law overthinking things. This matter hasn’t been investigated yet after all.”
The Zhenguo Duke stood listening on the side. At this time, he spoke: “Yao’er had quite a few servants accompanying her as part of her dowry when she was married back then. Just find a few of those personal servants and bring them back for questioning.”
He instructed Uncle Peng, who was the steward of the household, to find those maids and bring them over for questioning. He also specifically asked for Shen Yi Yao to be kept in the dark on this matter.
On matters such as this, it was fine if they got to the bottom of things. But prior to that, it wouldn’t be good for Shen Yi Yao to know her own dad was interfering in her private affairs. It would naturally make her feel uncomfortable. Shen Yi Yao was a married woman after all. The Zhenguo Duke Estate always did things cautiously, and this time was no exception.
Uncle Peng was extremely adept at handling things and soon reported back to the Zhenguo Duke.
Of course, this wasn’t just due to his efficiency. It was also because this matter was easy to investigate. Uncle Peng was initially prepared to have the families of those servants call their children back from the Weiyuan Marquis Estate to avoid alerting others. Unexpectedly, when he called those people over he found out that those serving by Shen Yi Yao’s side were all no longer there.
Shen Yi Yao’s dowry back then was exceedingly plentiful. Just the servants that came with her alone numbered four to five households. Some managed things at the dowry homestead while others became Shen Yi Yao’s personal servants. Those who could serve by the madam’s side were naturally all maids and grannies. Back then, the Zhenguo Madam had considered everything thoroughly. There had been maids of all ages, and even Shen Yi Yao’s own wet nurse had been included. All their contracts were given to Shen Yi Yao for safekeeping.
As of today, it was said that wet nurse had left to her hometown two years ago for retirement. The older maids had all been married off. Some of the husbands came from Shen Yi Yao’s dowry, and most of the rest were all children from the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. Furthermore, their husbands were all pretty well off and it was said they lived quite well after getting married.
As for the younger ones, some were sold off after making mistakes and others had been arranged off to who knows where. This was to say that Shen Yi Yao’s personal servants didn’t include a single one who had come with her back then.
At this time, the Zhenguo Duke, madam and Second Madam Shen were all frozen, their hearts sinking.
None of them were fools. Based on the situation, and combining it with this time’s matter, it seems many things had happened in the dark without their knowledge.
“Lord Duke, because you had ordered not to alert the miss’s side, this subordinate didn’t investigate things thoroughly. What do you think….”
The Zhenguo Duke didn’t speak, his expression sunken as he waved for Uncle Peng to take his leave.
It’s definitely necessary to bother some power. If she didn’t, how could she go against her own mom, her own grandmother and even her own dad? Afterall, she isn’t reincarnated and also doesn’t have any special abilities. She’s just a normal girl. She purposefully made a fuss in front of Second Madam Shen so she could find some backing.
This author feels she’s given herself a huge pain in the ass. Why write such a complicated female lead? She’s being bullied by all sorts of morons back home, regardless of her status as the principal daughter and regardless of her mom’s awesome background. The husband’s household is full of morons who don’t care about their own household’s reputation or their son’s prospects. All sorts of morons. How satisfying it is to give the female lead a golden leg to hold onto and start bullying others!
But I’m having trouble allowing it. I keep feeling it’s not logical. I’m asking to be bullied myself, I understand….
Especially seeing some readers saying it’s too frustrating. Actually this author is also quite frustrated. I’ll do my best to let things feel satisfying (actually since the Zhenguo Duke is interfering, the female lead won’t suffer anymore), and make the story less moronic.
This was all rambling. This author isn’t sure what we’re talking about anymore. Everyone can just ignore it.