Those at the scene who knew about the old madam and Yan Ting’s thoughts didn’t dare say it out loud.
Could the old woman really be trying to get rid of this golden goose? Or was there some other plan? It’s no big deal to get rid of Shen Yi Yao, but there was still the Zhenguo Duke Estate behind her!
Would they be willing to part with it?
But thinking of everything that happened recently, Xue-shi understood a little.
She didn’t know how to describe it, but her heart felt a little strange.
Regardless whether the Zhenguo Duke Estate really kicked their daughter Shen Yi Yao out, they never expressed intent to kick their granddaughter Yan Yan out! The Zhenguo Duke’s grandson took Yan Yan out to play every once in a while, and the Ningxiang Chambers’ small kitchen was never lacking in their allowance. Although it didn’t seem to mean much, but just this small consideration was sufficient for people to have second thoughts.
Could the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s people not have wondered why their granddaughter needed her own little kitchen and ingredients? Did they cherish her so that they allowed her every whim?
Xue-shi was afraid that wasn’t the case.
They clearly didn’t trust the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. Otherwise, why would they send maids and food? Where they really afraid their granddaughter was lacking?
Putting together everything that happened during this time, Xue-shi shivered all over.
She secretly glanced at the old madam’s angry expression and Yan Ting’s obscure gaze.
Perhaps they had understood in their hearts, but still needed to pretend nothing was wrong, hoping they could muddle things over.
Then, would they really get rid of Shen Yi Yao?
Thinking of the third miss who never revealed her cards yet was always able to force people to swallow their grievances, Xue-shi decided to put on a good showing.
Yan Zhi saw the gleam in his wife’s eyes and secretly pulled at her, but wasn’t able to hold her back.
“Mom is speaking in anger. How could you randomly say the words “get rid of”? Even if you don’t consider her dignity, you still have to consider the third miss and the fourth young master’s dignity.” Xue-shi’s face was full of smiles. She supported Shen Yi Yao with her hand as she spoke.
Xue-shi’s emotions were complicated as she patted Shen Yi Yao’s hand.
Having known her for over ten years, Xue-shi also knew this sister-in-law was a good person. She was good natured and good tempered. She was also a generous person. However, she was just not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Xue-shi could understand why this was the case. Having been pampered from birth, she had married into a “happy” family. Being raised as an innocent person should have been cause for envy, but often times such an innocent person needed to be protected. As for the Weiyuan Marquis Estate, it clearly wasn’t a suitable place.
Actually, Xue-shi was often very jealous of Shen Yi Yao. She was jealous of her background, and jealous that she could remain innocent. But often times she would also feel complicated, and a sort of faint Schadenfreude.
You were born into wealth, your background is good and your appearance is good. Everything of yours is good. Unfortunately, you are a fool and don’t even know you’re being led in circles.
Xue-shi hadn’t done anything to screw Shen Yi Yao over before. She only allowed it to happen without doing anything. If you couldn’t tell what was going on yourself, then it was no use for others to say anything. At most, she looted her occasionally. This sort of looting was just getting some small benefits, for example having the children go ask for things and take advantange.
At first, Xue-shi also felt a little embarrassed. She even wondered if Shen Yi Yao really didn’t understand or was merely pretending. But Shen Yi Yao always maintained a smile and said it wasn’t a big deal. She even felt it was more “conscientious”. Xue-shi gradually became more and more at ease with it.
Xue-shi definitely wouldn’t admit she was helping at this time because she had taken advantage of Shen Yi Yao many times. She was just guarded against that third miss, and also only did it because this situation wouldn’t affect her much.
This period of time was also sufficient for the old madam to snap out of her anger.
Were they really getting rid of Shen Yi Yao?
She thought to herself how wonderful that would be, but there were many helpless matters in life. Especially since her son….
The old madam glanced at her son. Her son’s gleaming eyes made her own eyes flash.
She made up her mind and said: “Eldest daughter-in-law, move away for me. This matter today definitely won’t be resolved so easily. Even if the Zhenguo Duke Estate is powerful, they still have to give me an explanation.”
These words roused major waves.
Were they going against the Zhenguo Duke Estate?
“No matter what, Concubine Pei is still a daughter from my Pei household. Even if she is a concubine, no one should do something like this to others. If we still have to swallow our anger after a baby boy was miscarried, then how can I as your mom show my face outside afterwards!?” The last words were said to Yan Ting.
“Their Shen household doesn’t know how to raise their daughter, and brought up a vicious woman. She caused a calamity on our Yan household’s descendent. Call the Shen household over. Have them give our Yan household an explanation!”
The old madam made the final decision.
It was easy to say, but was it really ok to call the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s people over so late at night?
Fine. Since the old madam had spoken and the lord marquis didn’t say anything, the servants could only carry out their instructions obediently. Luckily it was the Lantern Festival today so the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s people definitely didn’t sleep early.
The front court’s Steward Tian personally went to the Zhenguo Duke Estate to invite them over. He had his carriage prepared and hurried over to the Zhenguo Duke Estate.
When he arrived, none of the masters were present. It was said they had gone lantern viewing with the emperor.
Lantern viewing with the emperor!
Steward Tian trembled all over, his mouth full of bitterness.
But since the orders had come from above, he couldn’t make the decision for his masters. Therefore, he could only explain the situation to the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s steward.
When Uncle Peng heard this, he didn’t dare delay and personally took Steward Tian to go find the people.
The streets of the inner city were filled with lanterns and fireworks. It was extremely lively. The closer they got to the palace, the more heavily guarded it was. They were stopped three times, and were only let through after the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s steward showed his insignia. How could Steward Tian have seen such a scene before? He kept his head lowered and his arms clasped as he walked behind Uncle Peng. He didn’t even dare breathe too loudly.
The further in they got, they fewer people there were. By the time they reached the royal streets, there were almost no people to be seen. Steward Tian wasn’t allowed further inside. Uncle Peng had him stand in the corner and wait before going inside himself.
The events outside naturally couldn’t be compared to those organized by the palace. Without mentioning anything else, just the lanterns covering the heavens and earth were of exquisite quality. They weren’t made by those random troupes like the ones on the outside. The major showstopper was a hanging lantern arrangement shaped like a five-clawed golden dragon. Steward Tian could only see half a claw from where he was standing, but it was sufficient to reveal its majesty.
The sound of talk and laughter could be heard in the distance and the music never stopped. However, this area was extremely silent. A gust of cold wind blew over, making Steward Tian shiver.
After around the time it takes to brew a pot of tea, Uncle Peng returned with a solemn expression.
He told Steward Tian that the lord duke was accompanying the emperor and the women were accompanying the palace’s empress and concubines. He could only make a trip to the Weiyuan Marquis Estate himself.
Steward Tian let out a breath of relief.
As long as someone from the Zhenguo Duke Estate could go, this matter had nothing to do with him anymore.
The silver moon in the night sky was like a plate. Every once in a while, a dazzling firework would spray various colors in the sky. What a lively Lantern Festival.
Since it was still winter, the weather was still a little cold.
But no one cared whether the charcoal basins in the room were lit at this point. Everyone in the room was a preoccupied.
Xue-shi went to support Shen Yi Yao, but she didn’t stand up. It wasn’t clear whether her legs had gone soft. The old madam glared at Xue-shi a few times, so she could only withdraw her hand silently.
Shen Yi Yao was in a daze, seemingly having taken a serious shock. She seemed a little muddled, merely mumbling “I didn’t, I didn’t harm her”.
Through the thick curtains, the sound of pained crying could be heard mixed with the occasional sound of fireworks. It was extremely weird.
Shen Yi Yao refused to own up to it. In her anger, the old madam ordered Shen Yi Yao’s maids to be beaten by a plank. After a while of beating, those few maids were rather pitiful. Since they didn’t do anything, how could they admit to anything? Some where still confused about the situation, but they were all beaten until they were on their last breath.
The old madam was being ruthless, and planned on viciously putting Shen Yi Yao in her place.
Truly, having endured for over ten years, how could she not take advantage of this opportunity?!
The old madam had even decided that she wouldn’t let Shen Yi Yao off lightly this time. The principal mother harming a descendent. Anyone would condemn such a matter. It would be even better once the Zhenguo Duke’s people got here. If your Shen household still wants to preserve your reputation and your daughter’s dignity, if you don’t want your daughter to be wasted, then be on your best behavior.
Having seized something that could be used against them, the arrogant Zhenguo Duke Estate would have to lower their heads.
At that point, wouldn’t she dictate the terms? Even without mentioning anything else, at least her son’s prospects would be secured. It would be effortless to have the Zhenguo Duke Estate handle her son’s important matter.
Afterwords, it wouldn’t matter if they got rid of Shen Yi Yao or not. The Weiyuan Marquis Estate could afford to house and feed her, and they would still have the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s weakness in their hands. Wouldn’t they continue benefitting in the future?
The old madam hadn’t blown off steam in a long time, and felt very refreshed in her heart. Her son actually didn’t say anything to stop her this entire time. This meant he was of the same mind.
Since he had to maintain a harmonious appearance in the future, she didn’t mind being the villain in this case.
Thinking of Concubine Pei, the old madam even felt that it was good she miscarried. She no longer pined for the lost grandon. Once they had status, they wouldn’t lack for anything. There would naturally be a bunch of grandsons.
The old madam was full of vitality. She had someone bring a fresh pot of tea. She lifted the lid, brushed away the tea suds and took a sip.
“Old madam, lord marquis, the Zhenguo Duke Estate sent someone over.” Someone reported from outside.
The old madam put her teacup down and raised her hand slightly, preparing to do battle.
Shen Yi Yao trembled all over and slowly turned to look outside.
What should she do? She lost her maternal family’s face!
She was embarrassed, ashamed and indecisive. She didn’t know what she should do, and could only lower her head and wish to burrow into the ground.
“Greeting to the old madam. Greetings to the lord marquis.”
Uncle Peng walked in and clasped his hands in salute.
Hearing this voice, Shen Yi Yao raised her head. The one who came was Steward Peng, and not her dad or her brother or sister-in-law.
Uncle Peng wasn’t an ordinary steward. He was a commander under the Zhenguo Duke Estate back in the day. During a battle, he had become crippled while protecting the Zhenguo Duke. He thus retreated behind the scenes to organize the estate’s various affairs. He had watched the estate’s young masters and misses grow up, and their relationships weren’t ordinary.
Uncle Peng’s leg was slightly lame, though it wasn’t noticeable when he stood still.
Although Uncle Peng was crippled, none of the elite in the capital dared underestimate him. They didn’t even dare reveal the slightest abnormality. This was because they all knew he was the Zhenguo Duke’s trusted aide.
The old madam almost put on a smile out of habit, but managed to react in time. Her expression was a little rigid. Yan Ting sat there with his usual obscure gaze.
The two people didn’t say anything and the atmosphere was very awkward.
Uncle Peng pretended not to notice and limped over to Shen Yi Yao.
Shen Yi Yao was stiff all over, and didn’t even dare raise her head.
“Eldest miss, why are you sitting on the floor?” Uncle Peng’s voice was very gentle.
Shen Yi Yao timidly raised her head, “Uncle Peng….”
“Hurry and get up. Careful not to catch a cold.”
The old madam couldn’t keep watching. A mere steward dared to not take them seriously. Shouldn’t he be terrified and speak nicely to them? This nonchalant appearance was truly an eyesore!
She rubbed her bracelet and spoke with a sunken expression, “Since you’re here to represent the Zhenguo Duke Estate, shouldn’t you first give our household an explanation? No matter how powerful your Zhenguo Duke Estate is, you still can’t treat lives like weeds!”
Uncle Peng pulled Shen Yi Yao up before turning to face the old madam and Yan Ting.
“Everything the old madam wants to say, your noble estate’s steward has already told me.”
After he spoke, he turned to Shen Yi Yao. “Eldest miss, did you do it?”
“I didn’t. I didn’t do it.”
It seemed that with Uncle Peng’s arrival, Shen Yi Yao found her backbone. At least her tone was a little less helpless and had a bit more strength behind it.
Uncle Peng no longer spoke, and merely looked calmly at the two people up above.
The old madam was a little angry and humiliated from the stare. “This steward, is your meaning that she didn’t do it as long as she says she didn’t? The evidence is all there. Are you saying we’re falsely accusing her?!”
“Old madam, please remain calm. No one is suspecting you of falsely accusing people.” Uncle Peng’s voice was steady. “Our Zhenguo Duke Estate believes your noble estate has the evidence, and that it’s conclusive. But at the same time——”
He gave Shen Yi Yao a glance, “We also believe our miss isn’t someone who would do such a thing.”
The old madam wanted to speak but was stopped by Uncle Peng’s raised hand.
“Before I came, the lord duke had given instructions. He hasn’t forgiven the eldest miss, but that’s something between father and daughter. It has nothing to do with others or the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. Additionally, the lord duke still trusts his own daughter’s character more. Our Zhenguo Duke Estate’s people never do anything underhanded, and we’ve never had to do so either.”
After a pause, he spoke again: “Let me say something a little unpleasant. A mere concubine could be dealt with on a whim. Even if she was pregnant, it’s not difficult to keep the child while getting rid of the mother. A mere ant that can be pinched to death. Why go through the effort of drugging the ant? Of course, this is just my personal opinion.”
Uncle Peng’s voice was very calm and steady, but these words gave everyone the feeling he was looking down on them.
That’s right. It was just his personal opinion. A mere steward of the Zhenguo Duke Estate was already so arrogant and disdainful. As the Zhenguo Duke’s only daughter, why would Shen Yi Yao have to drug a…errr, ant? If she truly had malicious intentions, there were a thousand ways she could have Concubine Pei die without a proper burial.
Actually everyone here understood that Shen Yi Yao had fallen into someone’s scheme. But since her weakness was seized, things weren’t so simple.
The old madam’s face was the color of pig liver. “After all this back and forth, your Zhenguo Duke Estate is still suppressing others with your status!”
Uncle Peng cupped his hand, “Old madam is wrong about her compliments.”
They had intended on him taking the initiative to discuss terms, but what should they do if he didn’t play along?
He wasn’t disputing things. You have your proof, and he has his arguments. They relied on the one point: we don’t believe our household’s miss would do anything bad!
Perhaps, maybe Shen Yi Yao truly didn’t do it. But the point was would the old madam allow it? Would Yan Ting?
This matter was no longer just Concubine Pei’s alone!
Everyone’s mind raced swiftly.
As expected of the Zhenguo Duke Estate. A mere steward was so hard to deal with. How should they deal with this annoying attitude?
Could it be they really had to shed all pretences and force them to give an explanation? The old madam was a little resentful of such insensible people. Couldn’t they be a bit more obedient? Why be so difficult and make trouble?
But since the curtains were already raised on this performance, she had to continue singing until the end.
Luckily she was elderly and was also a woman. It was suitable for her to continue playing the villain. Even if they really “reconciled” someday, she could just pretend everything was well again as she became muddled in her old age. It was normal for old people to be muddled. It was fine as long as the husband wasn’t “muddled”.
She cast Uncle Peng a glance and sneered: “A steward like you can’t make decisions for the masters, right? I won’t speak further with you. Have someone from the Shen household come. If you don’t give our Weiyuan Marquis Estate an explanation today, it’s also fine to not have such a daughter-in-law!”
The hall was silent enough to hear a pin drop.
Uncle Peng cleared his throat and said: “I think I forgot to mention something—–” He revealed a rather troubled expression. “The lord duke is angry at the miss, and his anger hasn’t faded yet. I think your noble estate should be aware of this matter. The lord duke is old and his temper is short. If the old man doesn’t give the word, no one in the estate dares to get involved in the eldest miss’s affairs. When this matter was reported, the lord duke said three things.”
He paused and spoke again: “The first thing: he doesn’t believe his own daughter would do such a thing. The second thing: since Shen Yi Yao married into the Yan household, the Shen household won’t get involved in her matters. The third thing: if your Weiyuan Marquis Estate truly determines that this matter was done by Shen Yi Yao, then get rid of her. He definitely won’t say anything about it.”
Shen Yi Yao’s body swayed, and she couldn’t help but start trembling.
These words cause countless ripples.
Today’s matter was truly outside of everyone’s expectations. It was full of twists and turns, surprising everyone.
“It turns out you aren’t here to discuss terms, but rather to act shamelessly!”
After a moment, the old madam burst out with these words. After speaking, she seemed to have sensed things weren’t right and spoke again with a pruple face: “You guys are truly bullying others excessively!”
Uncle Peng slightly left her hanging before saying: “Old madam, where did these words come from? No one wants to act shamelessly and no one wants to humiliate others.”
That’s right, did they suppress others with their status?
Did they pester them endlessly?
They also didn’t.
They didn’t do anything, and didn’t even argue that much. They even said they wouldn’t say anything if they chose to get rid of her. How was this suppressing others with their status?
But, but this was completely different from what they had in mind! They wouldn’t have been surprised if the Zhenguo Duke Estate refused to accept it and asked for an investigation. Even if they said unreasonably “what are you gonna do about it?” they wouldn’t have been surprised. But the point was that the other party was very calm, and even threw out the line “if you aren’t satisfied with this daughter-in-law, it is fine to get rid of her”. How were they supposed to respond?
Really get rid of her?
This wasn’t possible. At least, Yan Ting wasn’t planning on getting rid of his wife at this time.
Not get rid of her?
Wouldn’t their previous words be hitting their own mouths? Wouldn’t they have been making a fool of themselves this entire time?
This situation was very firm. The old madam’s paths were all blocked off, without any room to step off the stage.
After speaking, Uncle Peng didn’t bother with their expressions: “It’s getting late. I’ll take my leave first.”
Leaving just like that?
Everyone choked up.
Uncle Peng turned and glanced at the woman who was still that little girl in his eyes. He didn’t look at her pleading eyes. He let out a faint sigh, but his steps didn’t stop as he left by himself.
Shen Yi Yao’s face was ashen and she continued to tremble.
The things that happened this time around was unacceptable to the Weiyuan Marquis Estate.
The steward Uncle Peng first spoke a whole let before throwing out “the Zhenguo Duke Estate doesn’t care about Shen Yi Yao anymore. You guys can do as you please.” Of course he had said it in a nicer manner, but this was the general meaning.
No longer caring about this daughter?
But that wasn’t quite right. If they didn’t care, why would he help her up and care whether she caught a cold? They could say it was Uncle Peng’s own actions which had nothing to do with the Zhenguo Duke Estate, but could they really say it wasn’t related? After all, servants made a living by guessing their masters’ intentions!
But the Zhenguo Duke’s meaning was extremely clear. I don’t care about this daughter of mine. If you guys aren’t satisfied, it’s fine to get rid of her. He wouldn’t say anything about it.
The ball was in their court, and they had to decide how to respond!
The old madam’s chest was stuffed with anger, and couldn’t spit it up or swallow it down. Yan Ting’s expression was also not good. Everyone else was playing dead, lowering their heads and looking for ants on the floor.
Suddenly, Xue-shi’s voice sounded. “When did the third miss get back?”
Only now did everyone realize that there were two people leaning against the wall at some point. It was Yan Yan and Yan Mo. It wasn’t clear how long they were standing there, and how long they’ve been watching. No one actually noticed in a room full of people.
“A while ago. Seeing the elders discussing things, I didn’t have anyone announce my arrival.”
The old madam paid no attention to Yan Yan. She was still trying to figure out how to get out of this situation.
Yan Zhi’s eyes flashed and he stood up. “Since there isn’t much going on, we’ll head back first, mom.”
Xue-shi was startled, “How could there be not much going on? Aren’t things still not…..” She quickly changed her expression and words with a smile. “That’s true. It’s not a huge deal, why are we getting so many people involved? It’s merely a concubine. If she miscarried then she miscarried. It’s quite normal for miscarriage to happen if the fetus isn’t stable. We can only blame her for not being careful.”
She sidled over to the old madam with a smile, and said warmly. “Mom, you’re really something. You assumed there was rain after hearing wind. You made such a huge fuss after listening to a few words from the maids. You must be tired. Daughter-in-law will send you to the Rongan Hall to rest.”
The couple from the eldest branch speaking up made it hard for others to react. But thinking it over, it was clearly helping the old madam save face.
Although Xue-shi was a little shameless in throwing away all of Matron Zhao’s investigation and Doctor Chang’s statement, shamelessly acting like everything was ok was also a sort of talent.
The old madam borrowed the slope to move the donkey. She immediately forgot how righteously she had demanded the Shen household give them an explanation early. She also forgot how she had cursed Shen Yi Yao as a vicious woman and a calamity to the Yan household’s descendents. She rubbed her temples and put on a weary expression. “That’s true. I get tired so quickly in my old age. Matron Zhao, help massage me a little after getting back.”
Matron Zhao crisply agreed and bent over to help the old madam up.
Yan Yan truly couldn’t endure any longer and scoffed quietly.
“Grandmother, I don’t think you can go rest just yet. This matter isn’t finished, how can we go rest?”
The few people’s actions became sluggish as they turned to look at Yan Yan.
Yan Yan’s crimson fur cloak made her little face seem pure as jade and resplendent as a peach. She smiled as she looked at the crowd, but when matched with the fire in her eyes, it seemed a little weird.
Xue-shi walked over hurriedly and gave Yan Yan a meaningful glance.
“What matter is there still? Third miss, you should hurry and help your mom back. It’s getting late and it’s cold outside.”
Xue-shi thought it best to have everyone take the opportunity to withdraw. This matter was related to Shen Yi Yao no matter how they looked at it. Making a fuss wouldn’t be advantageous to Shen Yi Yao or Yan Yan. Having a mom with a bad reputation would make it difficult for the daughter to marry in the future.
But she forgot something. Since things had gotten to this extent, how were they supposed to pretend everything was well?
The entire Weiyuan Marquis Estate was embroiled in this mess, from the rear court to the front. It seemed the majority of people knew what had happened. With so many mouths, it wasn’t easy to cover it up. If anything was leaked out, Shen Yi Yao’s reputation would be ruined. Outsiders wouldn’t understand the inner workings. Since even this matter was suppressed, they would only say the Zhenguo Duke Estate was suppressing others with their status. Regardless, the Weiyuan Marquis Estate wouldn’t suffer any losses. Outsiders would only see them as a victim of the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s power. As for Concubine Pei, a concubine, she would be pretty much overlooked.
To Xue-shi, extending a hand to Shen Yi Yao was only because it wouldn’t affect her. To put it precisely, their eldest branch still had to rely on the old madam and Yan Ting for the meals. Yan Zhi was also surnamed Yan, and it wasn’t wrong to be biased towards their own family.
But what about Shen Yi Yao?
At this moment, this woman was already trembling all over and was no longer able to stand steadily. But she was still hanging in there.
What about Yan Yan and Yan Mo?
How would the matter of their future marriage be smooth if they had such a vicious mom?!
What about the Zhenguo Duke Estate?
They would have gotten shot even when lying down.1
Yan Yan sometimes couldn’t figure it out. Why do you get to decide the truth of the matter? When you guys want to do a song and dance, you can sing the climax over and over. When you guys no longer want to sing, you can force the curtains to fall?
The world doesn’t work that way!
Minor spoiler below for next chapter. Since technically this was two chapters, do I get a day off tomorrow? Leave you on this cliff a little longer?
Was afraid it would be disjointed so I combined two chapters into one. Two chapters of melodrama made me tear out my hair the whole morning.
Definitely don’t say it’s not two chapters. It really is two chapters.
Originally said things would be dealt with today, but it seems I’ll have to eat my words. Only a majority was dealt with. What’s left is for Ah Yan to turn the tables.
The Weiyuan Marquis Estate’s plan was thoroughly ruined. The Zhenguo Duke Estate’s attitude was also clearly expressed. They don’t care about the Yan family’s wife. Hehe, not sure if Yan Ting will feel his balls ache. However, it’s still a little hard to have Yan Ting get rid of Shen Yi Yao at this point. He also can’t bear to do so on the spot.
Don’t ask why the scummy people weren’t bullied in this chapter. Didn’t you notice they were bullied ruthlessly? The injuries are all internal.
Often times, bullying isn’t just letting them die without a proper burial or having them cry to the heavens. These are this author’s thoughts, not sure if everyone agrees?