Thank you again to the same generous donor for donating once again last night….T.T
Yan Ting was busy and wasn’t in the estate.
Yan Qian came bright and early to cry to Shen Yi Yao.
But Yan Qian was a child. Who told her Yan Ting wasn’t at the Jinse Pavilion?
Yan Yan understood Yan Qian too well. She didn’t have much of a brain, and there was no way she came up with this sort of soft scheme. Shen Yi Yao was a soft-hearted person. If Yan Yan hadn’t come early, Yan Qian’s “I won’t get up if you don’t agree” trick would probably have worked.
Yan Yan was sure that Yan Qian couldn’t have thought of this shameless move by herself.
Yan Qian wasn’t too smart. When Concubine Pei was present in the past, she never got close to Shen Yi Yao and rarely spoke. If no one gave her pointers, how could her personality change so drastically?
Recalling what Cui Qiao said about Concubine Wu, Yan Yan gave Yi Meng a glance as they were leaving the Jinse Pavilion. She had her secretly remain and clarify the situation. Yan Yan and Yan Mo had quite a few maids by their side. No one would notice if one was missing.
By the time Yan Yan and Yan Mo returned from the Rongan Hall, Yi Meng was already waiting in the room.
“This servant thoroughly questioned Cui Qiao. She said she had raised the curtains for Concubine Wu and then went to use the bathroom. When she returned, she saw Concubine Wu and the fifth miss standing outside the door. They seemed as if they were going to enter, but were standing without moving. At that time there was no one else in the hallway and they were spotted by her. She was going to call out to them but the second miss charged out from inside.”
Matron Zou muttered to herself and said: “This means she might have overheard something and wanted to avoid getting involved?”
“She might also have been eavesdropping!” Yan Yan subconsciously said.
After she spoke, Yan Yan frowned. “But why would she want to eavesdrop?”
Concubine Wu always gave off the impression that she was very honest, and almost invisible. She rarely spoke and almost never went out. Her only point of interest was that she used to be a maid who was part of Shen Yi Yao’s dowry. Afterwards, Shen Yi Yao allowed her to marry in for some reason. After she gave birth to the fifth miss, she was promoted from a chambermaid to a concubine.
Shen Yi Yao had always treated her pretty well and she was also extremely respectful to Shen Yi Yao. She also treated Yan Yan with respect. When Yan Yan was paranoid in the past, she had once suspected her. But after a long period of observation, she didn’t find anything suspicious.
If it weren’t for Yan Qian’s unusual behavior today and Cui Qiao’s words, Yan Yan wouldn’t have suspected her of eavesdropping. But why would she be eavesdropping?
This was truly puzzling!
Yan Yan usually put aside things she couldn’t figure out. Especially since this time Yan Qian was probably just making a fuss to get Concubine Pei released. Concubine Pei’s confinement was ordered by Yan Ting. If nothing unexpected happened, he wouldn’t let her out for the moment unless Shen Yi Yao personally released her….
Thinking to this point, Yan Yan felt even more that someone was definitely directing Yan Qian in the dark.
It wouldn’t be the old madam. She wouldn’t want to annoy her own son, especially since he was trying his best to earn the Zhenguo Duke’s forgiveness, despite his limited success.
Then who could it be?
To seize Shen Yi Yao’s weakness, take advantage of Yan Ting’s absence and have Yan Qian put on a performance….
Could it really have been Concubine Wu?
But she had never interacted with the Ziyu Pavilion before. Why would she take the risk of offending her to do such a thankless task?
“Matron Zou. Have people keep an eye on Yan Qian’s side. See if she is in contact with anyone.”
Matron Zou’s expression was a little troubled but she still nodded.
Yan Yan didn’t have too many usable people at the moment. Those at the Ningxiang Chambers were mostly from the Zhenguo Duke Estate, which meant they didn’t have much of a foundation in the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. Although they had quite a few spies, those people were mostly not serving masters or mistresses. They only knew the obvious things, but weren’t able to get any inside information.
Yan Yan also knew it wouldn’t be much use, but wanted to give it a shot. Perhaps they might really obtain some useful information?
Concubine Wu wished she could slap that infuriatingly stupid second miss to death.
“Second miss is here to speak with the fifth miss? The fifth miss caught a bit of a cold yesterday. She just ate medicine and is currently sleeping.” Concubine Wu said softly.
Yan Qian looked at her impatiently. “I’m not here for the fifth miss. I’m looking for you.”
What’s the point of putting on an act in your own residence?!
Concubine Wu gritted her teeth and forced a smile. “Since second miss is here to visit the fifth miss, this one will bring you over.” After speaking, she led the way inside.
After entering the fifth miss’s room, Concubine Wu personally shut the door before looking at Yan Qian with some veiled anger.
She said in a low voice. “Second miss, didn’t I tell you before not to come find me for no reason?! The third miss is definitely suspicious after you made such a fuss. Aren’t you bringing me trouble by coming to me at this risky moment?!”
Yan Qian snorted disdainfully. “Aren’t you being overly cautious? Are you that afraid of Yan Yan?”
Aren’t you afraid? Who was the one who ran off in tears that day?
Concubine Wu’s face was rigid, “This one is just a lowly concubine who isn’t favored, and naturally doesn’t dare offend the lofty third miss.”
Yan Qian sneered and took a seat in the chair. “Your idea won’t work. Come up with something else!”
Concubine Wu’s chest rapidly rose and fell. “Does second miss think this is a market? You can exchange it for something else as you please?” Her voice was extremely low, but was a little shrill from her anger.
“I don’t care. My concubine mom said that you must help with this matter!”
Concubine Wu took a deep breath and sat down on the bedside. She looked at Yan Chan who was fast asleep and tucked her in before saying: “Go tell your concubine mom that this one doesn’t have the ability. The only option has been blocked by you. All that’s left is to see if the lord marquis will say the word.”
The lord marquis would definitely not say anything since he was trying to get in the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s good books.
Yan Qian was also full of grievance. “How was I supposed to know she would coincidentally come early? Didn’t I also get a torrent of abuse from her!?”
Concubine Wu turned her expressionless face aside as she curled her lips mockingly. “What did I tell you back then? You have to build it up! The madam is soft-hearted, and if you begged her repeatedly she would definitely waver. But since the third miss had already come, you still didn’t know to stop and cover it up. You should have waited until next time, but instead continued using this trick in front of her. That trick works well against the madam, but it pokes at the third miss’s reverse scale. Since you weren’t able to judge the situation, don’t blame it on others. Regardless, I’m out of ideas. How about you go beg the lord marquis?”
That day she had heard that the third miss had gone over to the Jinse Pavilion so she had hurried over with the fifth miss. Who would have thought Yan Qian was that foolish and confirmed her worst fears!
Yan Qian was choked up. If begging her dad would work, why would she come to Concubine Wu?
She had tried it once and was ruthlessly punished.
“Concubine Wu, don’t you forget that my mom is asking you to help me!”
Concubine Wu smiled mockingly and gave her a glance.
“You also know I’m helping? Have you ever heard of someone being threatened into helping? What happened between your mom and I is our business. As for you…..second miss it’s better if you left quickly. My place is small, it’s better if you came less.”
Yan Qian sneered resentfully and left.
Concubine Wu’s expression was extremely ugly.
She shouldn’t have gotten involved in this matter. Who would have thought this Yan Qian was full of failures with little successes!? Yan Qian coming and leaving, and even leaving with such an attitude, would definitely arouse suspicion.
Concubine Wu quickly thought things through. It’s fine if she was suspected. It’s not like she did anything. It wasn’t like back then.
As of now, she just had to figure out how to raise the fifth miss properly. The rest didn’t have anything to do with her.
The light in the room was very faint. Only a table and a chair was visible, as well as a simple and crude wooden bed.
The wooden bed had a thick, coarse ash blue cloth as a canopy, and there was a basin of charcoal in front of the bed. It was burning quite fiercely, but it wasn’t enough to drive away the cold.
Concubine Pei lay in bed. Despite being covered by the blanket, she still felt cold.
The charcoal in the basin was the lowest quality and smoked while it was burning. It also emitted a piercing smell. The blanket was rather thick, but since the weather was cold, the air felt moist and it was never warm enough. It wasn’t like the Ziyu Pavilion, where the blankets were made of fur covered in a layer of silk. Although it seemed like a thin layer, it would make one feel warm all over.
Yan Ting, you’re really ruthless!
During this month, this thought was in Concubine Pei’s mind the entire time.
He could clearly have turned a blind eye and let her live a little nicer. Shen Yi Yao wouldn’t come verify this matter. It was clearly him being merciless.
Treating others harshly while finding excuses for himself!
Ha! Has he perhaps forgotten their decades’ long relationship, and the fact that she gave birth to two of his children?
Even the old madam forgot about this niece of hers, and forgot how she was always filial towards her. The moment something happened she cut her losses! The old madam remained well and respected in the Rongan Hall while she herself was made to suffer!
Concubine Pei gritted her teeth. This sort of resentment corrupted her soul daily. She hated Shen Yi Yao, hated Yan Yan, hated the old madam, and hated Yan Ting most….
An old granny pushed the door open and entered, bringing in a gust of cold wind. The bit of warmth that was finally accumulated by the charcoal was swept away again.
That’s right, she also hated this old granny. Doesn’t she know how cold it was in here? Couldn’t she open the door a bit more carefully?!
“Concubine Pei. Time to eat.”
The old granny placed the container of food on the table and took her leave.
Concubine Pei really didn’t want to get out of bed, but she was truly hungry.
In the past she didn’t know what it felt like to be hungry. Recently, although still getting three meals a day, it was all vegetarian and lacking in flavor. Although there was a good amount, she would get hungry quickly.
She shivered and put on a coarse jacket, wrapping herself up tightly before getting off the bed.
Opening the container, she rubbed the bowl. There was still a trace of warmth.
She wolfed down a couple of bites first before digging into the deepest layer of the container. As expected, there was a small slip of paper. She opened it and took a look. There was only a single word, “failure”.
Concubine Pei understood what it meant. It meant her only path was blocked as well.
She ate the simple meal clean before burning the slip of paper in the charcoal basin. She returned to the bed and continued to huddle for warmth.
An unknown amount of time passed when the granny came back for the food container.
Concubine Pei called her and took off a jade bracelet around her wrist. She handed it over.
“I want to see the second miss.”
This granny pretended to be deaf and mute normally. No matter if she cried or yelled at her, she never responded. She had stuffed her things once asking for her conditions and food to be improved but was ignored.
Anything that went against orders from above, she refused to do.
But the last time, she was able to trade a jade bracelet for a meeting with Yan Qian. When Concubine Pei came in, she only had the two jade bracelets around her wrists. This was her last one.
Concubine Pei knew this granny was smart. She refused to do anything that was easily discovered. The last time Yan Qian came to see her, she merely passed on the message and when Yan Qian arrived, she “happened” to go use the bathroom.
“I will pass on the message to the second miss. Whether she can get in here will depend on her abilities. If she is discovered, it has nothing to do with this old granny.”
The old granny received the bracelet, left behind these words and took her leave.