Only after sending off a maid with some medicine for Qiao-Shi did Tian-Shi slowly take a seat by the table.
After sitting there thinking for half the day, she sent someone to call the 4th young master over.
It turns out that the reason 4th young master hadn’t showed up wasn’t because he was completely heartless regarding Qiao-Shi’s suicide attempt. It was because Tian-Shi had ordered someone to block the news from reaching him.
After taking a look at the situation, Tian-Shi had realized her daughter-in-law was putting on an act.
But no matter what, the act was putting her life on the line. Apart from feeling angry, she had also pitied Qiao-Shi and played along with her until the end.
After all, she was afraid if things got out of hand Qiao-Shi’s family would come looking for trouble. While the Jinyang Marquis Estate didn’t have to fear the high official from the Ministry of Appointments, she also didn’t want to turn them into enemies over such a trivial matter. Qiao-Shi just wanted to fight for some dignity within the estate and it was just a couple of maids. Might as well just sell them off. What was important was the reputation of the estate that she had to worry about.
Tian-Shi thought it over some more and sent Matron Rong to go oppress the servants a little further and have them keep their mouths shut. After Matron Rong left the 4th young master walked in.
Looking at the clueless youth, Tian-Shi’s head started hurting again. She was trying to figure out how to approach the subject, and since she had sold all his maids this child was probably going to make a fuss again.
As expected, once Tian-Shi told her son about the situation, he immediately jumped up and wasn’t able to maintain his decorum.
“Mom you said Qiao-Shi hung herself?” Thinking of Qiao Shi’s appearance, he couldn’t help but frown. “Well then, is she dead? And mom, why would you sell off Cui Lan and the rest? It didn’t have anything to do with them. Bring them back immediately.”
It had to be said that Qiao-Shi was Ruan Siyi’s sore spot, like a fishbone stuck in his throat. He could be gentle and caring to any woman, with Qiao-Shi being the only exception.
Hearing her own son speak so heartlessly about Qiao-Shi, Tian-Shi wasn’t sure whether to criticize him or say something else, and hearing her son still asking about those maids vexed her even more, the flames raging in her heart causing her to start coughing.
Having started, the coughs wouldn’t stop. Tian-Shi was afflicted with a lingering cough which would erupt depending on the season and time. These few days she had treated it to the point where she wasn’t coughing anymore, but her anger had caused it to start once again.
The maid on the side brought both water and medicine, and Matron Rong who walked in at this moment ran over to help Tian-Shi catch her breath. She let out a sigh and said to the 4th young master standing helplessly at the side: “4th young master, please don’t disturb the madam anymore. She has already worried her heart enough for your sake.”
Matron Rong used to be the estate madam’s wet nurse, and was always greatly respected by the few young masters. Therefore, her words to the 4th young master were always very direct.
4th young master’s handsome face flushed with embarrassment and he wasn’t sure of what to say. He wanted to help but there wasn’t anything he could do except stand by the side resentfully.
After Tian-Shi swallowed the pills along with a few gulps of water she was finally able to stop coughing. Only then did the 4th young master take his seat again. He half hung his head, giving the air of knowing he was in the wrong.
A few maids came up with a copper basin and towel to wipe off Tian Shi’s face. Only then did she with Xiu E’s help lean back against her recliner.
After a while, she slowly opened her mouth: “Yi’er, you aren’t young anymore. Having gotten married, you’re now an adult. But why do you never think before you act?”
“Mom—” The 4th young master sat there without knowing what to say.
Since he was still young despite being an outstanding talent, there was still inevitably some immaturity. Seeing this younger son in front of her, Tian-Shi only felt some relief after thinking of her older son.
Tian-Shi sighed again, and spoke once more: “Since Qiao-Shi is your principal wife, why don’t you leave even a bit of face for her? When hearing that she had hung herself, your first questions was whether she died yet? How did I give birth to such a heartless thing?” Feeling her own chest start to get tight again, Tian-Shi hurriedly evened out her breathing.
“Mom, I didn’t…I didn’t mean it like that….” The 4th young master also didn’t know how to explain. Although he said he didn’t mean it, those words had truly come out of his mouth.
Tian-Shi raised her hand, “Alright, that’s enough. Mother knows you didn’t mean it. But—” She paused, and opened her mouth again: “But no matter if you meant it or not, such words can’t come out of your mouth. Mother knows you don’t like Qiao-Shi, and mother has also said she wouldn’t care if you take some concubines afterwards. But you also can’t just insult Qiao-Shi’s dignity like that in broad daylight. If you do that how is she supposed to have the face to continue living in the estate?”
The 4th young master lowered his reddened face.
Tian-Shi sighed once again. This son of hers was pampered from childhood, and has a warm and pure nature. His only two problems were his love of beauty and his inability to think things through.
She could only blame herself for spoiling him and protecting him too much. Almost eighteen years old and never thinking about his words before he spoke, and his actions were even more purely according to his whims.
“Qiao-Shi’s father is a high official in the Ministry of Appointments. If Qiao-Shi really hung herself in our estate, wouldn’t it force our families to become enemies? Although our household doesn’t fear them, and we’re also not afraid of making our in-laws our enemies, how would outsiders view our Jinyang Marquis Estate? That we bullied people based on our position, and forced a principal wife to her death?”
The 4th young master was just about to speak but was interrupted again by Tian-Shi’s words: “Mother knows you think Qiao-Shi isn’t good looking enough, but since ancient times the wife has always been married for her worth and concubines taken for their looks. All the wealthy households came about this way. It’s impossible for everyone to marry a wife that suits their tastes. As the master of your own pavilion, the most important thing is to be impartial. Who cares if you don’t like her and don’t favor her? Who you want to pamper is your own choice. However, you cannot take away her dignity. If you don’t leave her face, can she avoid causing a disturbance? Furthermore, the moment you leave her without face is the moment you throw your own face away since a married couple should stand united.”
The 4th young master sat there with a pondering face though it was unclear what he was thinking about.
Tian-Shi also wasn’t expecting to get through to him in one go so she sighed. “Alright, you don’t have to feel too frustrated. Just keep mother’s words in your mind. Regarding those maids –”
Upon hearing this the 4th young master still wanted to ask for mercy on their behalf, but his words were swallowed up by the madam’s glare.
“Those maids will either be sold or beaten to death. The choice is yours.”
The 4th young master hesitated for a while before opening his mouth: “Then it’s better to sell them off.”
Tian-Shi nodded her head in satisfaction. “It’s not that mother wants to sell your maids. Since Qiao-Shi made such a commotion the other day, if those maids aren’t sold off it would be hard to maintain the peace. Please understand your mother’s difficulties.”
“Mom, I understand. It’s all your son’s fault for making things hard on mom.”
Tian-Shi sat up and patted his shoulders, tenderly saying: “Silly boy, you are your mother’s son. Making your mother worry about you is natural. Just keep in mind, no matter how much you dislike Qiao-Shi you must always be considerate of her dignity. That way, even if you take in a few maids or concubines, she wouldn’t be able to say anything.”
Her son had just married his wife not too long ago. As his mother, Tian-Shi had to put some effort into teaching him how to maintain the pavilion’s equilibrium.
“Alright, go on back. Mother is tired and wants to rest for a bit.”
The 4th young master nodded his head and walked out.
One will eventually have to face some undesirable situations in life while growing up. In the previous life, Ruan Siyi gradually became more and more depraved. Who knows if things could change in this life after Qiao-Shi’s episode.
Of course, this was a little off topic.
Cui Lan, Liu Ye and Xiao Hua were shoved and jostled by those old crones to an abandoned building near the wayside pavilion and were locked inside.
The house was simple and crude, completely empty on the inside. The floor was covered in dust and countless webs hung in the corners. As though afraid of people escaping, the windows were completely boarded up, though it left a few large gaps for light to shine inside.
Cui Lan and Liu Ye had fallen to the floor. After a brief moment, they pulled out the rags in their mouths and pounced at the door, hammering with all their might.
Xiao Hua knew there was no chance of rescue at this point and didn’t want to waste her energy. She found a corner and sat there curled up with her arms around her legs.
“Open up, open up! I want to see the young master….” Cui Lan yelled while crying, hitting the door repeatedly. Liu Ye was next to her doing the same.
But no matter how they beat at the door, no one responded. It was completely silent outside the house.
The two having been dragged the whole way didn’t have much left in way of appearance. Their clothes were filthy, their hair was a mess, and their faces were filled with snot and tears, completely losing the look of the Jinxiu Pavilion’s senior maids.
The two didn’t get tired of hitting the door but Xiao Hua grew tired of watching, taking the rare initiative to open her mouth on her own: “Stop hitting, don’t waste your energy. No one’s going to come release us….” She paused and continued: “The young master also won’t come.”
Cui Lan turned around and glared at Xiao Hua, her red streaked eyes giving her a deranged look.
“Stop speaking nonsense. You’re just a maid, but Liu Ye and I are different. Young master will definitely come rescue us.”
Xiao Hua inwardly sneered. How were they different now?
Even with such a large commotion at Qiao-Shi’s residence, the young master hadn’t hurried back.
She knew that it wasn’t because he was completely heartless. Regarding this man who used to be her everything in her past life, Xiao Hua still had a good understanding of his character. He wasn’t callous. The only possibility for his absence was that the estate madam had prevented the news from reaching him.
If this was the case, the madam was certainly clear that dealing with them in front of the young master would cause him to argue. She simply took care of them first without telling him. Since the madam had put in so much effort, how could she let the young master come save them?
Especially considering Qiao-Shi had gone to the extent of hanging herself. To suppress this incident definitely required some scapegoats. If it couldn’t be the 4th young master, then it had to be them.
Having thought up to this point, Xiao Hua secretly spat.
She really had eight generations worth of bad luck. Imagine getting caught up in calamity just like that. She clearly remained honest, honest, and also honest. She was low key to the lowest key, but was still implicated in the end.
However, Xiao Hua also knew that thinking about this was useless and could only accept her fate. Besides, having been sold so many times, she had gotten used to it already.
But it was truly hard to get used to it in her heart. Having entered the Jinyang Estate in her past life, no matter how hard it got, her days were never truly bitter.
Now having reincarnated once, despite her best efforts to protect herself, she still ended up getting sold off.