The living room was in chaos. Yan Yan clutched her face as she stared at her mom in disbelief.
Shen Yi Yao’s eyes were filled with pain as she sobbed: “Ah Yan, mom is begging you. Go apologize to the old madam.”
This was the first time Yan Yan was hit in her life, and it was also her first time being hit by her mom. This was her own mom. Yan Yan was sure she wasn’t adopted!
But, but why did she always listen to the words of others instead of her own people?
Did she forget Ah Mo’s frail appearance? Didn’t she know her son almost died today? Didn’t she know if Yan Yan and Lady Hui hadn’t arrived quickly that Ah Mo would have died in such a downplayed manner?
At that time, would she still be so biased towards others?
When she was still very young, Yan Yan learned the saying “outward bending elbows”. She merely had the thought back then but didn’t know how to describe it. Only after she matured did she understand the essence of this saying.1
Shen Yi Yao wasn’t ruthless and unloving towards her own children. In fact, she loved them very much. But she listened to others too easily, and was too easily led astray. Just like how the old madam came in and put on this performance, all for the sake of distracting her and downplaying the matter. Yet Shen Yi Yao was just so easily convinced by her.
Shen Yi Yao had been married into the Weiyuan Marquis household for twelve years. This amount of time was enough for the old madam to have a grasp on her character and manipulate her in circles without her realizing.
Actually it wasn’t just the old madam. The entire Weiyuan Marquis Estate was the same. Yan Yan only realized this recently.
Shen Yi Yao was also very heartbroken after hitting her own daughter.
Ah Yan was still young, but if she already disrespected her elders so at this age, what would happen once she grew older?! Shen Yi Yao was raised in a traditional wealthy household, and was therefore completely unable to accept this.
Shen Yi Yao felt that her own actions were correct. Therefore, despite feeling heartache, she still said: “Ah Yan, hurry and apologize to grandmother! Ah Yan, be obedient….”
The last line was shouted out while crying.
No matter how stubborn Yan Yan was, she was still just a ten year old girl. Her stubbornness was a front she forcibly put on. Her shoulders were still very narrow, her figure was still very small. She was now going against her own mom and grandmother. She had been stimulated far too many times today, and her face had long since been filled with tears but she had gritted her teeth and forced herself not to make a sound.
The phrase “be obedient” penetrated the defensive barriers she had erected around her heart. She remembered how she had fallen ill once when she was younger. Her mom had held and comforted her without sleep or rest. Normally, she always had a gentle smile when she called her “Ah Yan”…..
Ah Yan, be obedient!
She really wanted to be obedient, but if she did so, would other frightening events occur?
Today Ah Mo fell into the water and was rescued.
What about next time? Would he be rescued in time?
Yan Yan glanced with reddened eyes at the old madam next to Shen Yi Yao and slowly walked in her direction.
“Grandmother. I apologize to you.” Yan Yan’s voice was clear, but her fists were clenched under her sleeves.
The old madam revealed a smile and Shen Yi Yao finally felt relieved. Concubine Pei’s gaze was obscure and Yan Hong looked pleased with himself as he stuck his tongue out at Yan Yan…..
“Ah Yan, grandmother doesn’t blame you. You’re still young….” The old madam sat up straight and waved her hand for the maids and grannies to spread out.
“Third miss, this is the right thing to do. It’s for your own good.” A granny said.
This was a very reputable granny by the old madam’s side who had served her for several decades. She was also the Weiyuan Marquis, Yan Yan’s father’s wet nurse. She was surnamed Zhao, and had a lot of face within the estate. Everyone addressed her as Matron Zhao, and even the Weiyuan Marquis was respectful towards her.
Yan Yan twitched her mouth, “Grandmother, I was wrong. I shouldn’t have spoken to you disrespectfully.”
The old madam patted her hand benevolently. “Grandmother knows Ah Yan didn’t do it on purpose. Ah Yan was just anxious at the time….”
How considerate, she had even come up with an explanation for her.
“Then can we discuss the matter of Ah Mo falling into the water now?”
The old madam’s face turned rigid. She retracted her hand and looked at this stubborn and hateful little lass.
She had never liked this granddaughter of hers. Never. At first it was because of Shen Yi Yao. Afterwards, it was because this little lass always looked at her with a strange gaze. At that time she was only five or six years old, and was still immature.
A couple of years later, that strange gaze disappeared but the seeds of dislike had already taken root. She had so many grandchildren. Why did she need to force herself to like a little lass who never knew to act cute in front of her? The only reason she treated her benevolently was for the sake of the Zhenguo Duke.
If it weren’t for him, the old madam wouldn’t even spare her a glance!
“Also, when Ah Mo fell into the water and all those people didn’t help him, shouldn’t that be discussed as well?” Yan Yan spoke one word at a time: “Ah Mo is the Weiyuan Marquis’s heir after all, and is the future inheritor of the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. He’s the Zhenguo Duke’s grandson as well as Governor Shen and the Xuanwei General’s nephew. If such a major event weren’t thoroughly investigated, wouldn’t it be hard to explain?”
This was a threat!
Old Madam Yan understood!
This was truly a threat. Yan Yan’s first time threatening someone was actually towards the old madam who was seated in the seat of honor, her own grandmother.
The old madam was already over fifty years old, but had taken good care of herself. Her face was round, her body stout, her skin fair and clear and her expression benevolent. A head of grizzled hair was tied up neatly in a bun behind her head. She wore an azure headdress, upon which was a ruby the size of a dove egg. Dressed in a jade green robe embroidered with the pattern of five fortunes surrounding the life character, she exuded an air of nobility.
At this moment her face grew solemn and her brows furrowed, her dignified aura increasing by a few shades.
“Ah Yan, were you speaking to your grandmother just now?”
This was also a threat. Yan Yan understood.
She straightened her back, clenched her fists and looked directly at the person across from her, not allowing herself to reveal any weakness.
“Yes. The matter of Ah Mo falling into the water must be thoroughly investigated today!”
The air froze. Shen Yi Yao frowned and walked over, wanting to say something, but was suddenly interrupted by the old madam.
“Fine, looks like everyone in this residence no longer has this old woman in their eyes….”
The old madam inhaled sharply and started bawling. She leaned against the carved rosewood chair and started crying her eyes out. “When Ting’er isn’t home even a junior is bullying this old woman. I might as well just die….”
“Old madam, you definitely can’t say that. You’re the ancestor of this household. Who dares bully you? The third miss is still young and doesn’t think before she speaks. The madam will instruct her properly in the future…..” Concubine Pei pounced over and sobbed.
The maids crowded over once again, some consoling while others wiped away tears on the side.
Yan Yan froze, and wasn’t quite able to react to this old woman suddenly losing her will to live. Yan Yan was still too young after all, and older ginger was still spicier. The old madam’s methods were much more brilliant.
Yan Hong rushed up and started kicking and punching at Yan Yan. “How dare you bully my grandmother, how dare you bully my grandmother…..”
Yan’er, Ying’er and Matron Qin rushed forward and shielded the frozen Yan Yan.
On the other side, Shen Yi Yao also went over to the old madam, crying and apologizing with all her might, “Mom2, don’t be angry. It’s all my fault. Your daughter-in-law didn’t raise Ah Yan properly…..”
“Big sis, you must properly keep the third miss in check. If the old madam gets ill from her anger, how are we to explain things to cousin when he gets back…..” Concubine Pei seemed to be extremely worried as she started sobbing while speaking.3
Thinking of her lord husband Yan Ting, Shen Yi Yao squeezed her handkerchief. She turned around, “Ah Yan, mom has spoiled you too much. Look how you’ve angered grandmother!”
Yan Yan snapped out of it and sullenly wanted to speak, but was held fast by Matron Qin.
“Thid miss. Things are getting out of hand. Why don’t you let it go, don’t anger madam anymore.”
Yan Yan had thoughts of giving up, but then thought of the pale-faced Ah Mo.
Give up? Based on what? This old woman is clearly acting. Is everyone here blind? It’s fine if everyone else was blind, but why was her own mom blind as well?!
A wave of sullenness and resentment arose. Yan Yan turned her face and no longer looked over at that side.
Shen Yi Yao saw her daughter’s stubborn expression as the sounds of weeping rang in her ears. She recalled how her lord husband asked her to pay respects to the old madam prior to his departure, and felt that she had failed completely.
“Fine, you don’t feel like you’ve done anything wrong? It’s mom who failed to raise you properly.” Shen Yi Yao gritted her teeth and said: “Servants, send the third miss to the small worship hall, have her properly cool off and reflect.”
Yan Yan was shocked. The crying Concubine Pei revealed an obscure and faint smile. However, this smile was too faint, making it hard for others to tell, and it was soon covered up by her apparent grief.
There was a small worship hall in the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. In the past, it was used for women in the family to burn incense and worship Buddha. Because its location was remote, it was left abandoned. Afterwards, juniors who repeatedly provoked their seniors would be locked up there to reflect.
The small worship hall was cold, without bed nor chair. There was only a Buddhist statue and a prayer mat in front of it. Once someone was put inside, the doors would be locked. They would only be given a bowl of water and two buns for their three meals. The lack of good food and sleep combined with the boredom of solitude made one unable to endure after a few days. They would naturally keep this lesson in mind in the future, and wouldn’t dare reoffend.
The last time the small worship hall was used as punishment was during Yan Yan’s father, the Weiyuan Marquis’s generation. No one in Yan Yan’s current generation of juniors had ever been shut inside before.
Yan Yan wanted to speak when Matron Qin said quietly by her ear: “My third miss, don’t make a fuss. The old madam is talking about not wanting to live, so madam will naturally use you to placate her anger. Wait for things to calm down and this matron will come save you.”
Matron Qin was Yan Yan’s wet nurse. When Yan Yan was six, Matron Qin was given to her own brother to serve by his side. Despite this, the two of them were still extremely close. Yan Yan would still obey Matron Qin’s words more or less.
Matron Qin was also speechless from tears. “Matron knows you are sullen in your heart, but their methods are too good. The old madam is taking advantage of her seniority, making it impossible to persist.”
Two grannies walked over, “Third miss, come with us servants.” Their tone was respectful but their attitudes were extremely firm.
Yan Yan bit her lower lip and glanced at Shen Yi Yao who was standing there before turning and leaving.
Matron Qin personally escorted Yan Yan to the small worship hall.
When they arrived, they saw it was completely cold and silent, without even a single lamp. In the large hall, there was only the tiny prayer mat in front of the Buddhist statue.
Matron Qin wanted to bring a lamp and some blankets over but was stopped by the two grannies.
One of the fierce-looking grannies said coldly: “This worship hall is meant for repentance. If there were good food, drink and rest, would anyone repent? This matron, don’t make things difficult for me. This rule was set by the previous old marquis, and has never been changed over the years. Why are you the only one complaining?”
Matron Qin forced a smile, “This old sis shouldn’t say that. I’m just feeling pity for the third miss. The third miss is still young and it’s the dead of night. Such a young girl staying here by herself in the dark would definitely be scared. Furthermore, the night is cold. What good is that prayer mat?”
“Enough, enough. Stop making a fuss. The second madam was the one who gave the orders and these rules were set long ago. If you have anything to say about it, go say it to the second madam.”
Yan Yan gave that granny a glare and said rigidly to Matron Qin: “Matron, you don’t have to worry about me. I’ve always been tough. Hurry and go back, it’ll be fine.”
Matron Qin didn’t speak any further since she knew it would be useless. These two grannies were clearly unreasonable, and were probably Concubine Pei’s wicked servants. She might as well go speak to the madam. Madam has always cherished the third miss. Once her anger faded, she would definitely release the miss.
“Third miss, you must take care of yourself. This servant will go beg the madam to release you.”
By this point, it should be clear who Old Madam Yan and Concubine Pei are cautious of. Otherwise they wouldn’t resort to such veiled methods to deal with Shen Yi Yao and Yan Yan. Yan Mo falling into the water wasn’t ordered by anyone. It was just Yan Hong’s maliciousness, pushing him when he wasn’t able to snatch the toy. As for the old madam and Concubine Pei, they’re just using their own methods to downplay the event.
Shen Yi Yao is a little naïve and foolish, but there’s a reason for it. It’s hard to protect yourself when you don’t realize you’re being schemed against, though of course she also has her own reasons. Don’t know if my readers can see the shadow of the female lead’s father Yan Ting. It’ll be explained in the future.
Some readers are feeling sullen, wanting these lowly people to be dealt with. This author won’t spoil things, and will merely say that Yan Mo falling into the water is a major event that stimulates Yan Yan’s personality to change (It can’t be called a big change. Yan Yan’s temper was never good to begin with, but since nothing big has happened before and she also has a pig teammate dragging her down, she never fully erupted in the past). Once someone stops caring about what the person most important to her thinks of her, what else is there to fear? Therefore, after this event, there shouldn’t be any sullen situations. Because those who make her feel sullen will feel even more sullen. Haha, this author has given the female lead a goldfinger.4