The old madam was in a bad mood to begin with, and Xue-shi’s crying and making a ruckus gave her a headache. Thinking of Yan Ting’s matter, she didn’t have much patience.
She abruptly slammed the table in anger. “Xue-shi! Do you still have a woman’s appearance?! Do you still have your mother-in-law in your eyes?!”
Although Xue-shi was shrewish, she had always feared this mother-in-law of hers. She trembled with fear and didn’t dare continue wailing.
She sobbed quietly. “Mom, your daughter-in-law lost herself in anger. I’ve given birth and raised several children for Yan Zhi, and have always played the part of a dutiful wife. I’ve worked hard in raising the family, and it isn’t like there aren’t any concubines and chambermaids. But he still raised a mistress on the outside.”
“Raising a mistress was his mistake, but coming to blows with your husband is yours. I’ve never heard of any household’s wife who dared strike her husband in front of the elders. What household would dare keep a woman like you? If you make a fuss again, I’ll have you go back to your maternal family.”
When her maternal family was mentioned, Xue-shi didn’t dare make a sound anymore.
Yan Zhi wiped the blood of his face. He grimaced in pain and kicked Xue-shi with an intolerant expression. “Hurry and scram back. I’ll deal with you later!”
He then turned and smiled at the old madam. “Mom, don’t anger yourself over her. Your son will deal with her properly when I get back!”
The old madam grunted. Xue-shi stood up and aggrievedly allowed the maids to send her away.
All the maids and grannies took their leave and the doors were closed. The hall fell silent once more but because of Xue-shi’s ruckus, the atmosphere wasn’t as tense as before.
Looking at the scratch marks on Yan Zhi’s chubby face, the old madam couldn’t quite endure it. She thought that since her oldest had told them about the mistress, there shouldn’t be anything else he was hiding. She looked at Yan Ting, who also agreed with this assessment.
Yan Zhi was no longer suspected of offending someone. Then just what on earth was it?
“Mom, can you tell your son what happened? Although your son isn’t impressive, my brain is still pretty decent. If everyone brainstorms together, we wouldn’t fear any problem, no matter how big!” Yan Zhi patted his stomach and said, looking extremely righteous. If his face didn’t have those scratches Xue-shi left behind, it would have looked even better.
“It’s nothing big, merely old two’s posting….”
Yan Zhi’s mind thought quickly and said in astonishment. “It’s about old two coming back from the border? I kept feeling like something was off. What, did something happen?” He looked extremely worried, caring and sympathetic.
The old madam hesitated a little and summarized the situation. It was like Yan Zhi said: since they were stuck, an extra person could maybe help figure it out.
Yan Zhi’s face sank the more he heard, and he paced around the hall racking his brains. Suddenly, his face froze and he looked hesitantly at the old madam and at Yan Ting.
“Eldest, did you think of something?”
Yan Zhi hesitated. He glanced at Yan Ting and didn’t speak.
“If you’ve thought of something, just say it. What are you beating around the bush for!?” The old madam was also anxious.
“I’m thinking, err, could this have something to do with the Zhenguo Duke Estate?”
Yan Ting’s face twitched and he slightly narrowed his eyes.
The old madam felt panicked and said: “How could that be….”
Yan Zhi seemed to feel more and more that his thought was reasonable. “Mom, your son isn’t just shooting in the dark. Think about the matter from last time. The Zhenguo Duke Estate had clearly been angered. Even though second sis-in-law went to smooth things over, didn’t Yan Yan bring back quite a few maids from the Zhenguo Duke Estate…..”
“What matter from last time?” Yan Ting’s solemn voice suddenly interrupted.
Yan Zhi froze and looked between Yan Ting and the old madam. He laughed awkwardly. “Hehe, turns out old two didn’t know about it, hehe….”
The old madam frowned, “Yu Jin didn’t tell you?” She thought about it. That matter had been caused by Yan Hong, and beyond that, she and Concubine Pei had done a few things as well. She immediately realized things weren’t good and cursed Concubine Pei for being muddleheaded. She was afraid her son would be angry when he found out.
“That’s right, you just returned and have been busy these days. Perhaps she didn’t have a chance to tell you.” The old madam wanted to change the subject, but also felt that this matter couldn’t be concealed. She thus gave Yan Zhi a glance and had him say it.
As his “mom’s good son”, Yan Zhi naturally was very obedient. He summarized the matter. Of course, his account was a little biased towards them. He made it sound like Yan Yan made a fuss over nothing and the made the Zhenguo Duke Estate out to be heavy handed. He even mentioned Shen Yi Yao going home to smooth things over.
“In theory, this shouldn’t be the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s doing. But old two, you also know the Zhenguo Duke is a very petty person. Therefore, your big bro had this thought…”
After speaking, Yan Zhi sat down and had a maid bring some tea. He took a sip.
He felt completely relaxed at the moment. It was fine as long as it didn’t have anything to do with him.
Others naturally wouldn’t understand what he meant by “the Zhenguo Duke is a very petty person”, but the entire Weiyuan Marquis Estate understood. That year, the Zhenguo Duke found out about Yan Ting meeting with the Shen household’s eldest miss in secret. Even though the two had gotten married, the Zhenguo Duke was unpleasant to Yan Ting for several years. Things only turned better after Yan Ting persisted patiently for several years, bringing Shen Yi Yao back home to visit and make more of an impression.
During this time, the old madam didn’t hold back from cursing the Zhenguo Duke Estate in private, and even her daughter-in-law Shen Yi Yao. As his “mom’s good son”, Yan Zhi naturally knew this.
Yan Ting’s expression was extremely gloomy. Although he told the old madam, who had a similar expression, not to overthink, his face didn’t match his words. Especially since Yan Ting knew he couldn’t just listen to this one-sided account of the situation. The Zhenguo Duke Estate also wouldn’t do things for no reason. If nothing really happened, why would they give so many maids to Ah Yan?
These actions revealed a problem. They had either grown suspicious or didn’t feel at ease about the Weiyuan Marquis Estate.
After Yan Ting left the Rongan Hall, he ordered his servants to investigate. Although he hadn’t been present for several years, he was still the one in charge of the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. The complete truth of the matter was reported to him.
Overall it wasn’t too different from what Yan Zhi had said, but the nature of the matter had changed completely.
Mo’er fell into the water and because the servants ignored the matter, Yan Yan beat them in her anger. This daughter of his was short tempered, and he wasn’t surprised at her actions. Ah Yan wanted to investigate the matter but was suppressed by his mom and Concubine Pei. They locked her up, which was why the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s people came knocking later. Shen Yi Yao had gone to smooth things over and Ah Yan stayed at the Zhenguo Duke Estate for several days before returning. During this time, the Zhenguo Duke Estate didn’t express anything, but merely sent several maids along when Ah Yan returned.
Everything seemed normal, but Yan Ting sensed some abnormality.
This was because the Zhenguo Duke Estate was too calm. Having been the Zhenguo Duke’s son-in-law for over ten years, Yan Ting understood the Shen household extremely well. The Shen household never swallowed their grievances. They would always strike back when struck, even if they weren’t in the right.
Especially the Zhenguo Duke, who was always protective of his children, and cherished Ah Yan a lot.
Therefore, their retaliation fell upon him.
To comfort oneself, one would use all sorts of methods to interpret things to one’s advantage.
For example, Concubine Pei could have become Yan Ting’s principal wife, but suddenly encountered an obstacle. She had no power to resist and could only comfort herself that her cousin married Shen Yi Yao for the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s power.
Yan Ting had always been a good husband and rarely slept at Concubine Pei’s place. Two-thirds of the month would be spent at the Jinse Pavilion. On the surface, he would only spent one or two days with Concubine Pei. She would comfort herself that he did it for the sake of his important matter. Didn’t he always sneak off to her place when he went to sleep in the study?
Another example was that as a wife, it was proper to manage the household, and it was also the best show of status. Concubine Pei used all possible means to obtain the authority to manage the household. Seeing Yan Ting’s approval, she felt that her cousin loved her the most.
For a woman inside the residence, managing the household was indeed a symbol of status. Shen Yi Yao didn’t understand this, which was to Concubine Pei’s benefit.
She gradually felt that managing this household was for the sake of her cousin, for her own sake, and for the sake of her son’s future. She naturally did things meticulously and didn’t give up any authority in matters big or small. Once Yan Ting started establishing himself, he became quite overworked. However, a woman had nothing to do every day, so it was a means to pass the time as well.
Shen Yi Yao was very idle, but did anyone take her seriously?
Every time Concubine Pei encountered some trouble and felt extremely gloomy, she would always use this outward appearance to comfort herself. It would even motivate her more.
This day, she had finally finished her work. Concubine Pei had the maids take the accounting ledgers away as she seated herself on the large kiln by the window. Chu Yu brought some tea over and massaged her shoulders and legs with Xiang Liu.
Outside the maids called out “greetings to the lord marquis”. Concubine Pei was overjoyed and hurriedly got off the kiln. Yan Ting rarely came to the Ziyu Pavilion during the day. Did her cousin miss her?
Concubine Pei tidied up her hair and walked out with a lovable smile. Yan Ting wore blue robes embroidered with dark bamboo patterns, a gold disk tied around his waist with a silk belt. His expression was stern, his face without emotion. His pupils were as deep and dark as obsidian. Concubine Pei understood Yan Ting too well. It was only possible to tell he was angry via his pupils.
She was startled and gave the maids around a glance. These maids all took their leave.
Concubine Pei smiled lovably and leaned over in a soft, almost boneless manner. Before she could get close, she was pushed away by Yan Ting.
Yan Ting hadn’t held back. Concubine Pei fell onto the kiln’s edge. Her waist was in pain and was undoubtedly bruised. Before she could react, a hand appeared on her throat. It had a lot of strength. Concubine Pei raised her eyes and met a pair of slightly bloodshot ones.
Concubine Pei’s face was red, tears springing forth from the corner of her eyes. She felt very panicked. Having known Yan Ting for so many years, she had never seen him like this, as though he was going to swallow her whole. She had trouble breathing and her neck hurt like it was about to snap. She did her best to pull Yan Ting’s hand away but it was useless. She was too weak.
“I thought you were smart so I let you manage the household. What did I tell you prior to leaving? I told you not to provoke Shen Yi Yao. Did my words go in one ear and out the other?”
Yan Ting’s voice was very quiet, but accompanied by his tranquil expression yet furious gaze, he seemed like a demon from hell in Concubine Pei’s tear-filled eyes.
“I, I didn’t….”
“Then how do you explain the matter of Mo’er falling into the water!?”
Concubine Pei’s heart felt like it was going to leap out of her chest. Her neck was hurting more and more as well, and her face turned redder at the lack of oxygen. She struggled with all her might. “Co-cousin, I really didn’t…you, let go….”
She slapped Yan Ting’s hand weakly.
“I turned a blind eye to all your little schemes normally. However, you should never, ever, ever have ruined my plans. Do you know how much this foolish move of yours cost me?” Yan Ting leaned in close. Only know was it clear how much turbulence was hidden in his eyes. “My Weiyuan Marquis Estate’s wonderful prospects have been ruined by your hands, you ignorant woman! Instead of provoking anyone else you insisted on provoking the Zhenguo Duke Estate. Can you afford to provoke them?”
Concubine Pei felt she was about to die. Her eyes became bloodshot and her hearing became muffled. She clearly heard Yan Ting’s words, but felt they were coming from thousands of miles away. Her hands scrambled wildly but couldn’t grab hold of anything.
Was she about to die?
“You foolish woman!”
As his voice fell, Concubine Pei was slammed onto the kiln.
Don’t disdain Concubine Pei. Actually, women are best at fooling themselves. This author is also a woman, and has fooled herself before. Every time encountering things I don’t want to face or cannot bear to face, or things I’m unable to accept, I instinctively fool myself. Of course, fooling myself like this has a time limit. This author is relatively rational, and snaps out of it rather quickly. But it still takes a couple of days to a week depending on the severity of the matter (this situation usually happens in relationship problems) before I gather myself and face reality.
There are also those who are stubborn or unable to see/guess through things or those stuck in a pit. In that case it’s unclear what the time limit is. Concubine Pei is such an example. Concubine Pei is extremely smart, otherwise she wouldn’t have gotten to this point. But smart people have a drawback, and that is being able to see through everything. Someone who sees through everything would suffer a lot. She liked Yan Ting and wanted to marry him. This was her first wrong move. Perhaps she had snapped out of it at some point, but she was already stuck in this situation and couldn’t get out. She could only continue to fool herself to be a little “happier”….