Hearing that the madam ordered the third miss to be locked up for half a month, Mei Xiang and Mei Xue were both stunned speechless.
“Big sis Mei Xiang, what on earth is the madam thinking? How could she give such an order?” Mei Xue spoke while crying.
She had initially hoped that the madam would feel sorry for the third miss and release her. Now, things were completely hopeless.
Mei Xiang’s eyes were also red and swollen, and she had silently shed tears for a while. “Concubine Pei or the old madam definitely made some moves. Otherwise, the madam definitely wouldn’t do this.”
“Don’t find excuses for the madam, ok? What did the third miss do wrong, huh? Aren’t you clear why the third miss is like this? Why does the madam always take their hypocritical show of affection as kindness, and fail to recognize actual kindness? The third miss is her own daughter!”
“Enough, no need to holler at me. I’m aware of it all and I understand it all, but the one who needs to understand has never understood.” Mei Xiang wiped her tears with her handkerchief. “The two of us are just servants, what can we do?! It seems we won’t be able to get into the Jinse Pavilion and the madam won’t listen to us anyway. I’m going to the small worship hall to see if I can speak with the third miss.”
Mei Xiang tidied herself up and went towards the rear. Unexpectedly, she found the rear doors locked. She went to find the granny in charge of the door, but that granny said someone had taken the keys.
As for who it was that had taken it, Mei Xiang knew without having to think.
Let’s not mention Mei Xiang and Mei Xue’s burning anxiety for now. Matron Qin, Yan’er and Ying’er had all taken the opportunity to secretly plead with the madam while serving Yan Mo, but unfortunately Shen Yi Yao had made up her mind to properly temper Yan Yan’s personality.
As for Yan Mo, he finally awoke after being in a daze for several days. Shen Yi Yao was overjoyed and hugged her darling while crying for a long while before finally calming down slightly.
Yan Mo leaned against the headboard and looked around, saying: “Where’s big sis?”
In the past, his big sis would always be the first to appear whenever he was sick.
Matron Qin who was holding the bowl of medicinal soup lowered her head, turned around to wipe her tears before turning back.
Shen Yi Yao’s expression turned rigid and she said: “Ah Yan was disobedient. Mom punished her to do some self-reflection.”
“How was big sis disobedient?”
“She hit some servants and talked back to your grandmother.”
Ah Mo let out an “oh” and didn’t speak further. Shen Yi Yao took the bowl of medicine in Matron Qin’s hands and prepared to feed him. Unexpectedly, Yan Mo asked again, “Why did big sis hit the servants?”
This time Matron Qin couldn’t endure any longer and started crying.
Fang Cao saw things weren’t looking good and hurriedly squeezed over, smiling and saying: “Fourth master, you’re still young. Children shouldn’t worry about too much. You’ve just recovered. It’s best to focus on your treatment.”
Shen Yi Yao also said: “That’s right, Mo’er. Drink your medicine first.”
Although Yan Mo was young, he could still tell something was off from Matron Qin’s weird behavior. He pushed aside the bowl of medicine and said: “Matron Qin, tell me. Why did big sis hit the servants and talk back to grandmother. Why did mom confine big sis?”
Matron Qin knelt to the floor with a thud and cried painfully: “Madam, since you don’t believe Ying’er, Yan’er and this servant’s words, why don’t you ask the fourth master how he fell into the water now that he’s awake?”
She then cried and complained to Yan Mo: “That day fourth young master fell into the water, this servant called for help but no one responded. This servant went and called the third miss over in her helplessness and Ying’er jumped in after you. After the third miss arrived, it was Lady Hui who saved the young master. Because no one was helping, the third miss kicked those servants who were watching the show into the water. Afterwards, the third miss wanted to investigate this matter but Concubine Pei was obscuring the truth. The old madam then came and protected the third young master, saying how the third miss disrespected her elders. The madam punished the third miss by locking her in the small worship hall….”
Fang Cao angrily said: “Matron Qin, how dare you speak ill of the madam, and slander the concubine, the old madam and the third young master? Who gave you such guts?!”
Matron Qin rubbed her eyes and said stubbornly: “No one gave me such guts. This servant is just speaking the truth. The fourth young master is already so old, and is able to understand.”
Yan Mo looked frightened and gave Shen Yi Yao a weird glance, saying: “That day it was truly Yan Hong who pushed me into the water. He wanted to snatch the toy in my hand, and when I didn’t give it to him, he pushed me.”
Shen Yi Yao’s expression was astonished and a little panicked, “Mo’er…..”
“Fourth young master, you’re still so young. How could you understand what it means to push? The third young master merely fought over a toy with you. Since you’re both kids, it’s normal for accidents to occur. You were both playing around to begin with.” Fang Cao interrupted.
“That’s right, Mo’er. Hong’er is still young and wouldn’t have such evil tendencies.” Shen Yi Yao nodded along, turning her head and looking at Matron Qin.
This event had caused a lot of disagreement, and Shen Yi Yao also had a headache. When all was said and done, it was still these servants who messed up and were afraid of punishment, and thus framed the master. Ah Yan had been led astray by them as well and got into an argument with the old madam. Shen Yi Yao had always been kindhearted and wasn’t willing to punish servants, but since Matron Qin was still trying to implicate others at this point, she was rather angry.
“Matron Qin, I appreciate you raising Ah Yan and serving Mo’er these years with all your effort. But instigating disagreement between masters cannot be tolerated. Why don’t you take your leave and go reflect properly. Come back and serve once you’ve done so. I’ll let you off this time, but if it happens again I will expel you.”
“Matron Qin, why don’t you hurry and leave. Don’t anger the madam. Madam is overly tired from taking care of the young master these days, and cannot afford to be angered.” Fang Cao pushed Matron Qin towards the door, smiling as she spoke.
Yan Mo who was on the bed suddenly stretched his hand out and flipped the bowl of medicine over, getting it all over Shen Yi Yao. He lay there kicking his feet as he cried loudly, “I want matron, I want matron. Matron don’t go, Ah Mo is scared…..”
Matron Qin shook off Fang Cao’s hand and rushed over to hold Yan Mo, “Don’t cry, fourth young master. Matron is here…..”
Shen Yi Yao frowned and looked at her crying son: “Mo’er, why are you so disobedient!?”
Yan Mo’s little hand grabbed Matron Qin’s clothes. His large eyes on his transparently pale face filled with tears. “I want Matron Qin to stay with me. I’m scared…..”
“Madam, let this servant accompany the young master. He is timid and had fallen into the water. Of course he’s frightened.” Matron Qin sobbed.
Shen Yi Yao looked at her sickly son, realized he had just awoken after falling into the water and said: “Then stay here and properly serve the young master. Mo’er is still young, don’t pollute his ears with any nonsense.”
“Yes, this servant naturally won’t.”
“Fetch another bowl of medicine for the young master. I’m going to change.”
Shen Yi Yao gave her instructions and left with her maids and grannies.
Matron Qin hugged Yan Mo, both sad and happy in her heart. She saw the tears on Yan Mo’s little face and said sympathetically: “Young master, matron will fetch a handkerchief and help wipe your face.”
Yan Mo nodded and loosened his grasp.
As she was wiping his face, he suddenly asked: “How many days has big sis been locked up?”
Matron Qin froze and couldn’t help but sob: “It’s already been several days.”
Thinking of how the third miss had ordered her not to tell the fourth young master about the stuffy business in the estate, Matron Qin wanted to speak but hesitated. If she had been able to suppress her worry and sullenness in her heart earlier, she wouldn’t have laid everything out in front of the small Yan Mo.
She forced a smile and said: “Is young master hungry? Matron had Yan’er make some of your favorite chicken congee on the stove. You can eat a few bites before taking your medicine.”
Yan Mo froze and looked at Matron Qin: “Aren’t we going to save big sis?”
Hearing this, Matron Qin sobbed again, and said with her head lowered: “Madam only confined the miss for half a month, and she’ll be out in a few days. The madam is also doing this for her own good.”
The last words were spoken with extreme unwillingness.
She finished speaking and raised her head, and happened to meet Yan Mo’s bright and clear eyes. She couldn’t help but mutter, “Fourth young master…..”
The room was extremely silent, enough to hear a pin drop.
Yan Mo said: “How long are you planning on keeping things from me? You said it yourself. I’m grown now and can understand things.”
Matron Qin’s handkerchief fell to the floor as her tears started flowing. She rushed forward and held Yan Mo as she cried loudly, “Fourth young master, you don’t know how much the miss has suffered. No one knows her suffering….the madam doesn’t understand. She has never understood. But it’s not like she doesn’t love the two of you, she just cannot see…..it’s because of this that it’s painful…..”
Yan Mo silently listened to Matron Qin cry and didn’t speak.
Actually, he had already felt something was wrong, but merely couldn’t figure out what it was. His mom had always protected him well. Big sis had moved to the Ningxiang Chambers to live by herself when she was six, but he had always remained with his mom in the Jinse Pavilion.
After falling into the water, his eyes were opened to some of the things hidden in the dark. Only after hearing Matron Qin’s complaints and about his sister’s punishment did he realize how muddled his mom was. His heart felt a little cold, but he felt even more sullen and hated how he couldn’t turn iron into steel.
He wasn’t his big sis, but he could already feel the sullenness and discomfort in his heart. In that case, how would his big sis be feeling?
He pondered before speaking: “Matron, find someone to secretly send word to my maternal grandfather’s side. Just say I miss my second aunt.”
“Fourth young master?”
“If someone from my grandfather’s side comes, they will have to release big sis. Even if mom insists on punishing her, they will think of some way to smooth things over.”
The last part was spoken very quietly. Matron Qin vaguely heard a hint of ridicule.
“The madam might get upset…..”
Shen Yi Yao had always been pampered back home, and after getting married she remained close with her family. She would often return home in the early years, but these last two years her trips were extremely few.
In the past it wasn’t clear, but afterwards those by Yan Yan’s side could see some clues. But since this matter was related to the madam and the marquis, even the third miss didn’t dare say anything, let alone the servants.
“First rescue big sis. Let’s not care about anything else for now.”
Matron Qin agreed and order Ying’er to make a trip out of the estate.
Ying’er was overjoyed at being instructed to reach out to the Zhenguo Duke Estate. She put down the work in her hands, packed up and went to Shen Yi Yao to ask off, saying she wanted to make a trip home.
Shen Yi Yao didn’t think too much and prepared to agree.
Fang Cao’s eyes flashed on the side, and she smiled and said: “Little sis Ying’er, you wouldn’t be trying to slack off, right? Why are you trying to go home right as the fourth young master got better? The fourth young master only has you, Yan’er and Matron Qin by his side, and won’t let anyone else interfere. If you go back now, what about the fourth young master?”
Fang Cao spoke the truth. After Yan Yan gave three of her people to Yan Mo, he no longer wanted anyone else to serve him. As for Matron Qin’s group, they had been given instructions and naturally did things meticulously without allowing outsiders to interfere.
“What is big sis Fang Cao saying? How could I be trying to slack off? I just haven’t gone home in a while and suddenly feel like making a trip.”
Fang Cao came up and grabbed Ying’er’s hand, patting it affectionately. “Since there isn’t any urgent matter, you can go back some other time. The fourth young master has just recovered after all, and cannot lack for people by his side. Could it be that the master’s health isn’t as important as your trip home? Big sis is older than you so let me give you some advice. Nothing is more important than the master. Wait until the fourth young master is a little more recovered. Madam would feel at ease, and you’d feel more at ease as well. Madam would give you a few extra days off at the time, wouldn’t that be better?”
Ying’er gritted her teeth and resented Fang Cao’s glib tongue. She was also angry at herself for not making up an illness in the family. But her family hadn’t contacted her recently, and she also knew that if she were caught in a lie by Fang Cao, the madam would be angry at her.
She forced a smile, “Big sis Fang Cao makes sense. I didn’t think things through.”
“Since that’s the case, hurry and do your work properly.”
Ying’er rigidly saluted Shen Yi Yao before taking her leave.
When she reached the door, she heard Shen Yi Yao say to Fang Cao: “Fang Cao, you’re still the more attentive one….”
Ying’er secretly spat in her heart before hurrying off to the fourth young master’s room.
After Ying’er explained the situation, Matron Qin and Yan’er’s expression were both ugly. Since these words were used to block Ying’er, the two of them were naturally in the same boat. But they had no one else on hand they could use. What should they do?!
Yan Mo was also helpless. He was just a six year old child. Although he was smart, there was a still a limit to his knowledge.
Just as they were at wits end, someone suddenly reported the arrival of the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s second madam Shen.
This second madam Shen was Yan Yan and Yan Mo’s aunt. This was a timely arrival!
If his second aunt came, she would definitely come see him. Yan Mo made up his mind to ask her to help release big sis.
He scarcely imagined that her coming this time was precisely for this matter.