Concubine Pei started crying the moment she got to the Rongan Hall.
She didn’t dare cry on the way there, but luckily she was able to hold it in the whole way.
Of course she knew the old madam wouldn’t do anything about this matter and would only have her endure. But she had to let the old madam know about it. Her aunt had always cherished Hong’er so she had to let her know how her cute grandson had been humiliated by the third miss. It was best if they could unite against this common enemy and think of a method to punish that arrogant lass.
The old madam naturally didn’t do anything about the matter. This matter was Yan Hong’s fault no matter how one looked at it. It also wasn’t unreasonable for Yan Yan to punish him. After comforting Concubine Pei, the old madam had her leave. Of course, it didn’t need to be mentioned that Concubine Pei had stirred up the old madam’s hatred of Yan Yan.
After returning to the Ziyu Pavilion, Yan Hong was still making a fuss. He cried and howled as he threw things around while also scolding and hitting the maids. Yan Qian had stepped up to console him but before she could finish speaking, she was hit in the arm by a flying object.
Seeing Concubine Pei return, Yan Qian went to complain with teary eyes.
“Mom, control Yan Hong a little. Look at him!”
“Enough, Qian’er. Your little brother isn’t happy. He’s still young, you should let it slide.” As she spoke, Concubine Pei stepped forward to coax Yan Hong. This little ancestor could only be stopped by Concubine Pei as of now.
Yan Qian’s eyes turned red from anger. She glared hatefully at Yan Hong who was being held and coaxed by Concubine Pei before running off.
Concubine Pei didn’t pay attention to her daughter who had stormed off angrily. She finally calmed her son down. The servants took this moment of peace to hurriedly clean up the room. The room returned to its previous tidy state.
“Mom, I won’t copy it. I just won’t. I won’t copy that whatever “Rules of Brotherhood”. On what basis can she punish me? Grandmother doesn’t even punish me!”
Yan Hong started his studies when he was five, and had learned over a thousand words. In theory, it wasn’t a difficult task for him to copy the Rules of Brotherhood. What he couldn’t accept was being punished, and it was even given out by the hated Yan Yan. Most importantly, he was being punished for Yan Mo’s sake.
Concubine Pei frowned and said sternly: “This “Rules of Brotherhood”, you must write out. You can’t be short even a single copy!”
“Based on what?” After he spoke, he started bawling again, flailing and kicking. “I want to tell grandmother….”
“Your grandmother wants you to write it out as well! Therefore, you must do so!”
Being yelled at like this, Yan Hong was a little frozen.
Concubine Pei looked at his disbelieving expression and couldn’t help but comfort: “Be obedient, Hong’er. This matter was your fault to begin with. The third miss punishing you is reasonable from every perspective.”
“What did I say wrong? Grandmother really doesn’t like Yan Mo.”
“But these words cannot be said in front of others. The third miss’s grandparents are powerful, and we must depend on them for the moment. Of course your grandmother likes you and not Yan Mo, but we can’t let outsiders know about such things. Be obedient. Let’s tolerate them for now until your dad gets back. At that time, mom will help you get revenge…..”
Concubine Pei spoke earnestly and Yan Hong’s eyes grew brighter and brighter. He started feeling better about copying the scripture. Mom was right. Revenge was a dish best served cold.
Five days later, Concubine Pei took Yan Hong to the Ningxiang Chambers and respectfully handed over a hundred copies of the “Rules of Brotherhood”.
Yan Yan was clearly present but she didn’t go see them. She merely had Matron Zou accept the things in the hallway before having them go back.
Concubine Pei didn’t express any humiliation. Even Yan Hong, despite speaking to a mere servant, respectfully said he knew he was in the wrong and definitely wouldn’t reoffend in the future.
Yan Yan sat with Yan Mo on the kiln in the western room looking out the window. Matron Zou carried a stack of folded papers over with a worried expression.
Yan Yan received it and looked it over. It was truly written by Yan Hong. Although Yan Hong took classes, he didn’t really pay attention and his words weren’t good looking. These hundred copies were all written by him personally, and not by anyone else.
“Miss, those two cannot be underestimated.” Matron Zou said.
Yan Hong understood her meaning. Concubine Pei was too good at enduring. That Yan Hong clearly had an overbearing and unreasonable nature, but had actually been persuaded by Concubine Pei to be well-behaved and swallow this humiliation to admit his faults.
It wasn’t bad to be good at enduring, but if their enemy was good at enduring to this extent, then they needed to be on guard. These sorts of people were the most frightening when they counterattacked.
Sometimes looking at these people, Yan Yan felt it made sense for her mom to be so naïve. Since everyone around her was good at lying and acting, and were also extremely good at enduring, who could tell what was real and what wasn’t as time passed?
Furthermore, Concubine Pei and even the old madam had treated her mom very well initially. Why had they slowly changed? Firstly it was because people would always become complacent over time and secondly because they both gave birth to children. Especially since her mom gave birth to Yan Mo and Concubine Pei gave birth to Yan Hong. They were both boys, so their hearts would inevitably end up changing.
This was a knot that couldn’t be undone.
Endless greed and lusting after things that didn’t belong to you was one of the negative aspects of humanity.
But no matter. She’ll let them know what it means to draw water with a leaky basket, and have their hopes come to naught!
Yan Yan raised her eyes and looked at Matron Zou, saying: “Matron, Yan Yan still has a lot to learn. I’ll have to trouble you for a lot of guidance in the future.”
She had never been one to shirk from battle. As long as something needed to be faced, she would face it properly. Based on her status, she had the natural advantage and absolute power. Although Concubine Pei didn’t have the advantage of status, she was full of craft and cunning, and had numerous shameful methods.
Since the other side had something she didn’t, she had to make up for this gap in knowledge. Even if she couldn’t reach her standard, she at least had to have some understanding. Only then could she keep her enemies in check, create opportunities for victory and put up defenses in advance.
“Sis, what does Ah Mo need to do?” Ah Mo pulled at Yan Yan’s sleeve on the side.
“You? Of course it’s to improve your health. That is sufficient.”
Yan Mo nodded silently but pouted his little lips. He always felt his big sis treated him still as a child.
Matron Zou smiled and said: “Young master, the miss is correct. First improve your health. After your health is improved, you must study hard. In the future, the madam and miss will be depending on your support.”
In this world, after a woman gets married, the most important thing was a loving and respectful relationship with her husband. The second was to have a good maternal family, and after having children, it was to compare whose child had the best prospects.
Yan Yan nodded and felt it made a lot of sense.
A man of character was indomitable. Lies and deceit only resulted in false successes. What truly successful person relied solely on hidden schemes to create a steady foundation? They still had to rely on their true ability.
Thinking of this, Yan Yan’s brows relaxed and her chest opened up.
“Ah Mo. Just focus on your health, and then your studies. Don’t bother with those imps and devils. Once we’re strong enough, they can only retreat without a fight.”
It had to be said, Yan Yan had stumbled upon the truth in a roundabout manner.
Without considering anything else, developing one’s body, mind and person should come first. Once you’ve elevated yourself, was there still a need to care about those contemptible schemers? When one reaches a certain level, those rats in the dark who cannot stand the light can be crushed underfoot.
Being powerful was far too important. This was why Yan Yan had seen early on how the Weiyuan Marquis Estate’s people did their best to flatter the Zhenguo Duke Estate. What their faces were like after they turned their backs doesn’t need to be mentioned. Why did they have to flatter them? Why did the old madam and Concubine Pei have to coax her mom in the past? Why did they have to endure a little lass like her?
To put it plainly, it was because the Zhenguo Duke Estate was powerful. They wanted their backing.
What they’re probably doing at the moment was to build up their own strength using her grandfather’s backing. Yan Yan didn’t forget that her dad would probably be coming back soon.
Yan Mo nodded his little head solemnly.
Henceforth, Yan Mo put his efforts into training with Yan Yan every day, and ate frequently to strengthen his body. As for Yan Yan, she focused on one simple improvement: to have her martial arts become exceptional.
Like she herself said, she didn’t have any talent for those feminine arts. She didn’t even know how to sew. In terms of learning, she was merely literate and understood etiquette. Anything to do with the arts was painful to look at.
She wasn’t an inflexible person and wouldn’t force herself if she was uninterested. She also understood that interest was something important in learning. She didn’t have much patience and didn’t like those things, so she couldn’t learn them properly. Since she liked martial arts, she might as well learn it properly.
Despite personally teaching Yan Mo a few things, Yan Yan did not neglect her own responsibilities. After paying respects every day, she would go to class. As for the miscellaneous things like zither, go, painting and calligraphy, she discarded them all. Apart from teaching Yan Mo, she spent the rest of the time learning the essentials for women in the rear residence from Matron Zou, as well as learning Lady Hui’s martial arts.
Only after she started learning properly from Lady Hui did Yan Yan realize that everything she had learned before was just playing around. In the past she trained for an hour and a half. Now, training became constant throughout the day. As long as she was free, she would train diligently. She started learning an additional weapon: Emei piercers.1
Only now did Yan Yan find out Lady Hui’s main weapon had never been the whip. Her whip was her secondary weapon. Her primary weapons were Emei piercers.
Although they were called Emei piercers, they were a little different. Emei piercers were made up of two sharp metal rods, one for each hand. They counted as exotic, short-range weapons and were versatile and agile. They fell somewhere between hidden weapons and regular weapons. Emei piercers were thick in the middle and thin on both ends. Their tips were flattened sharp rhombus shapes. There was a ring in the middle and its total length was around eight inches. Lady Hui’s Emei piercers were modified. Only the middle part was cylindrical so it could be easily held. Each end was shaped as an extremely thin blade, their edges murderous and frightening.
These weapons didn’t have a name. Lady Hui said they had been modified by her when she was younger.
Lady Hui didn’t let Yan Yan use these as weapons, and instead had her practice with actual Emei piercers.
As for her lightweight arts that Yan Yan drooled over, Lady Hui said there was no use in rushing this. She told her to finish training the internal arts she had taught her first. Lady Hui had given her the internal arts technique two years ago. After Yan Yan got a feel for it, she would find some time before bed to meditate for a couple of hours. Now that she knew the lightweight arts were supported by internal force, she naturally put even more effort into it. However it was like Lady Hui said: this couldn’t be rushed and needed to accumulate over time.
Take Lady Hui for example. She had practiced martial arts for several decades, and her internal force was naturally profound.
At the same time, several things happened at the border.
The Grand Xi was vast and prosperous. Up to this point, only the barbarian tribes in the extreme north could be counted as enemies.
The northern tribes were nomadic. Living in the north, the climate was extremely poor and there were no lands suitable for agriculture. They’ve long coveted the bountiful land of the Grand Xi, and would repeatedly invade its borders. This changed twenty years ago when the Zhenguo Duke Shen Mao Shan stationed at the border defeated them in one go. They scattered like loose sand and were barely holding on. Future invasions were limited to small-scale riots that didn’t make any ripples.
The Pingsha Pass was the first defensive checkpoint against the northern barbarians. In the past it had always been heavily guarded. At this time, Yan Ting was raging within one of the official’s residences in the Pingsha Pass.
Yan Ting had always been calm and collected, and was rather resourceful. He treated others with elegance yet was also not lacking in the decisiveness and firmness a general should possess. No matter how awful or difficult his circumstances, he felt he could dismiss everything with a smile. At this time, he realized he had overestimated his self-control.
“Marquis, you definitely cannot do this. If others were to hear of this, they might think you have issues with the court’s relocation orders!”
Yan Ting lowered the ink slab in his hand. The study was currently a complete mess. On the side, the three tall and sturdy troops from the Weiyuan Marquis Estate were all Yan Ting’s trusted aides.
“That scum is going too far!”
He didn’t say clearly who he was calling scum. Wang Meng, Wang Qin and Liu Ju all shrunk their necks on the side. They understood the sullenness in their lord’s heart, but…they were helpless in the face of these circumstances!
“Perhaps something happened in the capital?” Liu Ju analyzed with a frown.
Otherwise, this truly didn’t make sense. Why would the lord be relocated out of the blue?
Yan Ting had wanted to look for his brother-in-law, but unfortunately the Xuanwei General Shen Dong happened to be patrolling the border. After all, the Pingsha Pass didn’t just consist of Pingsha City, but was also surrounded by a few other cities which made up this defensive line. Patrolling the area would take at least ten days to half a month, and the relocation order’s deadline was extremely pressing.
Wang Qin mumbled quietly: “Don’t forget the lord’s father-in-law is the Five Armies Marshal Estate’s left marshal.”
Wang Meng glared unpleasantly at his younger brother. “Then don’t you forget that although the five armies marshal estate commands all the troops, relocation orders come from the Ministry of War!”
Wang Qin had still wanted to speak but had been interrupted by Wang Meng. He angrily swallowed his retort.
“You guys take your leave first.” Yan Ting said.
Wang Meng pulled Wang Qin outside. Liu Ju followed closely behind.
“Big bro, why won’t you let me speak!”
“Enough, stop stirring things up. Don’t you see the lord is irritated?”
“Then the northern barbarians…”
“Silence. Utterly forget those words for me. Never mention this again.”
Yan Ting sat in the room, his face frighteningly gloomy.
The relocation orders were pressing and Shen Dong couldn’t be reached. There also wasn’t enough time to send a letter to the capital. As of now, he could only comply and relocate to the capital before doing anything else. No one knew that Yan Ting’s heart was currently dripping blood. If this unexpected event didn’t happen, this winter would have been the greatest opportunity of his life….
This was as if a starving person finally stole a meat bun, but it was snatched before he could take a bite. No wonder the usually collected Yan Ting would lose his temper.
The current situation was chaotic and Yan Ting wasn’t able to figure out what had happened at the moment.
It didn’t make sense for the Shen household to be messing around with him. After all, he had always been the Zhenguo Duke’s good son-in-law. If the Zhenguo Duke hadn’t felt convinced, he wouldn’t have put so much effort into placing him under his brother-in-law. Before his brother-in-law Shen Dong left, he had even called him over and told him to remain vigilant.
Perhaps something truly happened in the capital. But what problem couldn’t be suppressed by the Zhenguo Duke, and needed him to be relocated?
Apart from this, Yan Ting felt pain at having spent a large amount of silver. There was no way to get it back anymore. Not only was it a huge loss, there was no where he could go to seek compensation. But this matter had to be kept completely secret. Otherwise, it would be a family-exterminating calamity.
After meticulous consideration, Yan Ting summoned his aides again, and gave them detailed warnings. After cleaning up what needed to be cleaned up, Yan Ting left the Pingsha Pass where he had stayed for the past three years, full of doubts in his mind.
Scummy dad returns to the capital next chapter. Cough cough, this author kept things ambiguous, but everyone should be able to tell what scheme of Yan Ting’s was messed up. We’ll screw him over a little first. Actually, we screwed him up a lot.