Eldest Madam Wu had an upset stomach prior to heading out today. After arriving at the Yiyong Marquis Estate, she had gone to the bathroom a couple more times.
After coming out the second time, she realized the Yaoyue Pavilion’s people had decreased by half. Some of the remaining madam’s were discussing how two misses had gotten into a fight in front of everyone. Eldest Madam Wu was startled at hearing this and hurried out of the pavilion.
Right as she exited, a servant came and reported that Miss Wu had been brought to the Qingshu1 Hall, and invited Eldest Madam Wu over.
From the situation, it was clear her daughter had caused trouble.
Eldest Madam Wu was both angry and worried as she followed the servant over. The moment she arrived, Wu Qiong Qiong pounced over crying loudly about having been hit.
Looking at her daughter’s frightfully swollen right cheek, Eldest Madam Wu was immediately enraged.
“Who on earth was it? Is this how your Yiyong Marquis Estate treats its guests? My miss was fine when I brought her over, but ended up injured like this?”
At this time, Ma Quan Fang came over with a smile, her attitude neither servile nor overbearing. “It was truly an oversight by our Yiyong Marquis Estate. However, Eldest Madam Wu should also ask Miss Wu what she did to end up this way.”
“What could my Qiong Qiong have done? What could a teenage girl have done to deserve such a hit!? Who was so vicious? What if she ends up disfigured?!”
Wu Qiong Qiong was aggrieved to begin with, and was also frightened by Second Madam Shen earlier. Now that she heard disfigurement was possible, she was inconsolable.
“Mom, you have to vent my anger for me. It was all that Yan Yan….”
“Madam-in-waiting, I feel your Yiyong Marquis Estate needs to give our High Official Estate an explanation. If this wasn’t done by someone from your estate, than the person responsible should be handed over.”
“Eldest Madam Wu, you shouldn’t be hasty. Let me first explain wht happened….”
Ma Quan Fang summarized the entire story.
Eldest Madam Wu’s face turned uglier the more she listened, her lips trembling from anger: “This is pure slander. Who can prove my daughter was the one responsible?”
Ma Quan Fang twitched her lips and said evenly: “That Yan household’s concubine daughter confessed in front of the crowd. Many people present also saw it was Miss Wu who brought her inside. In theory, a concubine born daughter doesn’t have the status to enter the Wangxian Pavilion. It was Miss Wu who brought her into the Qinxiang Garden, and then into the pavilion.”
“Did my daughter bring her in just because you said she did? She isn’t familiar with that Yan household’s daughter. Why would she bring a stranger inside? You all are probably framing her!”
Seeing Eldest Madam Wu’s unreasonable appearance, Ma Quan Fang realized where Wu Qiong Qiong got her unruly and domineering personality from. But since this matter occurred within her estate, she still had to pacify things whether it was reasonable or not.
Ma Quan Fang suppressed her emotions as she explained: “This you’ll have to ask your miss. Also, the Pei household’s miss has always been close with Miss Wu. This concubine daughter is Miss Pei’s cousin.”
Eldest Madam Wu doubtfully looked at her daughter.
Wu Qiong Qiong hemmed and hawed, speaking evasively. Pei Jia Yu was frightened into wishing she was invisible.
Since she raised her, Eldest Madam Wu knew her own daughter best. Looking at her expression, she knew the Yiyong Madam-in-waiting’s words shouldn’t be far from the truth. Despite this, she wasn’t planning on leaving it at that. Her daughter was beaten into such a state. If she swallowed this grievance, who would take their Wu household seriously in the future? Which household’s miss wasn’t pampered? Not even their parents were willing to lay a finger on them since birth, but now her daughter was hit by an outsider. No one would be able to swallow this anger.
Eldest Madam Wu laughed coldly, “I think it’s better for madam-in-waiting to stop being evasive. Just how lofty is this Yan household to make you cover for them?!”
Ma Quan Fang had long since been impatient. Hearing these words, her face turned pale from anger. “Forget it, forget it. I initially felt that both sides are at fault in this matter. Since Miss Wu was the main cause of this, it would be best if everyone could take a step back and forget it. Since Eldest Madam Wu isn’t willing, then there will naturally be someone coming to discuss things with you later. It’s better if you take it up with the other party’s elder! The other party still wants to pursue the matter of your noble estate’s miss picking quarrels for no reason and spreading gossip to ruin people’s name!”
Eldest Madam Wu flicked her sleeve and laughed disdainfully. “What a joke. That’s perfect. I still want to ask the other party how they raised such a malicious miss in their household!”
A voice sounded from outside. “Eldest Madam Wu has some objections to how our Zhenguo Duke Estate raises our juniors?”
Ma Quan Fang stood and walked over in greeting. Eldest Madam Wu was also startled into standing. Her face was both flushed and pale, looking extremely awkward.
Zhenguo Duke Estate?
Wasn’t the surname Yan?!
Eldest Madam Wu wasn’t making a fuss without reason. When she heard the other party’s surname was Yan, she knew that there was no household with that surname their Wu household couldn’t afford to offend. Only then did she refuse to drop the matter.
This fuss was to find some excuses for her household. For example, her miss was young and was framed, her daughter was too innocent and was manipulated. It wasn’t like this hadn’t happened before. If she didn’t make a fuss, it would be tacitly admitting Wu Qiong Qiong was responsible.
After all, outsiders would wonder why none of her elders stepped up to defend her after she was hit if she was truly innocent.
Eldest Madam Wu had always been good at putting up a strong front and pressuring others. She could make those with reason on their side suddenly feel unreasonable.
But the Zhenguo Duke Estate….
Eldest Madam Wu recalled the Zhenguo Duke’s son-in-law was surnamed Yan. Perhaps this matter involved the Zhenguo Duke’s granddaughter? The Zhenguo Duke only had one precious pearl who had given birth to one daughter. The Shen household had few women so the Zhenguo Duke cherished his granddaughter a lot. This matter wasn’t a secret within the capital.
She vaguely recalled when that girl turned one year old, the celebration was extremely grand. Even the Zhenguo Duke himself had made a personal appearance. His face had wrinkled up from smiling as he held that young girl. At that time, Eldest Madam Wu was still a daughter-in-law who hadn’t been given authority over the household yet. She had come with her mother-in-law and this memory was still fresh in her mind.
Second Madam Shen smiled warmly but her gaze was rather sharp as she stared at Eldest Madam Wu.
Eldest Madam Wu already felt lacking in confidence before she even opened her mouth. Her expression was rather rigid.
“Second Madam Shen….”
Just like how the Zhenguo Duke’s name was brilliant and imposing within the Grand Xi, Second Madam Shen was also brilliant and imposing within the social circles of noblewomen.
She knew how to conduct herself and the way she treated others normally was extremely proper. However, she was no pushover, and handled things in an overbearing manner. Her reputation was something forged over time. Normally it was rare for a banquet to be graced with her presence. Unexpectedly, she had actually come to the Yiyong Marquis Estate today.
Second Madam Shen wasn’t planning on resolving this matter peacefully. She took a couple of steps closer. “Could Eldest Madam Wu perhaps let me know how our Zhenguo Duke Estate has failed in educating our miss?”
Eldest Madam Wu couldn’t help but take a couple of steps back. “Second Madam Shen, this is a misunderstanding….”
“Misunderstanding? Doesn’t seem like it to me!” Second Madam Shen sneered disdainfully. “Since Eldest Madam Wu wants to have a proper discussion, this madam here will naturally oblige happily. I am also very eager to ask how your Wu Estate raised your miss. First she provokes quarrels for no reason, and when that fails she turns to vicious schemes, starting rumors to harm my niece. I’m sure Eldest Madam Wu is aware how important a good reputation is for a girl. Such sinister intentions are truly hair-raising!”
“My Qiong Qiong is pure and definitely wouldn’t have such a vicious heart.” Eldest Madam Wu knew she didn’t have reason on her side and also didn’t dare offend the Zhenguo Duke Estate. She had a flash of brilliance and urgently said: “That Yan household’s concubine daughter is this Miss Pei’s cousin. My daughter is close with Miss Pei, and it was definitely these cousins working together to hoodwink my daughter. Qiong Qiong, hurry and tell mom and Second Madam Shen if this was the case?!”
Wu Qiong Qiong stumbled from being pulled at and her eyes were brimming with tears. “I argued with Liu Shu Yi and ran out of the Wangxian Pavilion in anger. I was planning on cooling off outside but was brought out of the garden by Pei Jia Yu. While chatting with her, that Yan Qian appeared….your daughter also doesn’t remember what happened back then, and only remembers I was very angry. Yan Qian happened to bring up Yan Yan’s matters and Pei Jia Yu said we can use these things to deal with her…she said reputation is important for a girl, and this was the easiest way to deal with Yan Yan….”
Eldest Madam Wu started raining down abuse. “Calling you pure was putting it nicely. You’re basically a fool. Didn’t you realize you were being manipulated?!”
As she spoke, she poked her daughter’s forehead with her finger. Wu Qiong Qiong was forced to retreat repeatedly, looking rather pitiful.
Wu Qiong Qiong hadn’t lied. The only part that wasn’t quite true was that she had run out of the garden due to anger. This part wasn’t important. After all, they were walking around aimlessly anyway, and no one could recall it clearly in anger.
As for the reason Pei Jia Yu would say something like this was to curry favor with Wu Qiong Qiong. She could tell what Wu Qiong Qiong was thinking, and knew she didn’t want to be the one to say it due to her status. This was why Pei Jia Yu ended up being the one to speak up and reach an agreement with Yan Qian.
These two facts combined painted the image of an intentional plot by two misses from the Pei household to accomplish their own goals.
Pei Jia Yu continuously shook her head. “I didn’t, I really didn’t….”
But when Eldest Madam Wu sternly questioned her whether she had said such words, and whether that Yan Qian was her cousin, she wasn’t able to say anything.
The conclusion ended up being that Yan Qian wanted to get back at Yan Yan and Pei Jia Yu wanted to get back at Wu Qiong Qiong. This was because Wu Qiong Qiong’s rude nature had angered her quite frequently.
Although these words weren’t spoken out loud, this was the general meaning.
Eldest Madam Wu was rather skilled, being able to push all the blame away so easily.
Second Madam Shen was rather unresigned, but it wasn’t convenient to say anything.
Putting it plainly, that Pei household’s miss also didn’t have good intentions. Since this matter was bad for both sides, Second Madam Shen also hadn’t been planning on doing anything to Wu Qiong Qiong. This matter was sufficient for the Wu Estate to digest for a long time.
Second Madam Shen knew to quit while she was ahead: “This madam hopes that your noble estate will come over to apologize tomorrow.”
Both sides understood what this meant. If someone from the Wu household came to apologize, it meant they admitted to this matter. As for Wu Qiong Qiong’s reputation, that was something for them to worry about. After all, even if it was as Eldest Madam Wu concluded, it was the Wu household’s responsibility for not knowing people well enough, resulting in someone else’s name being ruined.
Eldest Madam Wu laughed awkwardly: “Absolutely.”
Second Madam Shen nodded and left.
The Wu Estate was certain to have a sleepless night.
By the time Eldest Madam Wu returned with Wu Qiong Qiong and Pei Jia Yu, it was already dark.
There was another round of scolding after they got back. By now, Eldest Madam Wu already knew clearly how to proceed. She called over her second son’s wife Pei Jia Yi and showered her with abuse. She said the Pei household’s miss had caused huge trouble for their household.
Pei Jia Yi suffered a round of abuse before finally understanding what was going on. She was both angry and worried but also didn’t dare talk back. When her mother-in-law finally let her go, she pulled her younger sister back for questioning.
When everything was clarified, she understood that her sister was being made the scapegoat. Based on her mother-in-law’s actions, it seemed the Pei household would end up being forced to carry this black pot!
Pei Jia Yi cried and scolded her sister for not stopping things from happening. But she also understood that little ancestor Wu Qiong Qiong’s personality. Who would be able to stop her? But this matter was different. If they were blamed, the Pei household’s misses would have their reputations ruined. But were they allowed not to take the blame?
Ever since their grandfather was fired and exiled, their household had been declining day by day. Luckily due to this marriage of hers, her household was able to rest a little easier.
Only Pei Jia Yi herself knew the difficult situation her household was in. The Wu household didn’t have an arranged marriage with the Pei household at all. It was just a sort of tacit understanding.
She had been looking forward to her marriage, but only after it happened did she realize how much suffering was involved. Her husband and his cousin were childhood friends and their households had already decided on marrying them. Suddenly an obstacle came up and became his wife. Her husband didn’t favor her and neither did her mother-in-law. The marriage had been arranged by High Official Wu, but he wouldn’t care about the situation of the rear residence.
Pei Jia Yi had washed her face with tears countless times. Unexpectedly, this matter today ended up occurring. How was she supposed to explain things to her maternal household? This matter involved every miss in her household. Her second and third aunt naturally wouldn’t let it sit. Her mom would be the one being troubled.
This won’t be mentioned for now.
The next day, Eldest Madam Wu went to the Zhenguo Duke Estate to apologize. The reason she didn’t go to the Weiyuan Marquis Estate was because yesterday’s matter had been intercepted by Second Madam Shen.
Whether she apologized wasn’t important. It was the formality everyone was looking for. Seeing the Wu household’s people apologizing, the people paying attention to this matter understood even more clearly that this was truly the Wu household’s fault. Then it went without saying that the Zhenguo Duke’s granddaughter was truly slandered by the Wu household’s miss.
No one knew how the Wu household explained things to the Zhenguo Duke Estate. They merely knew that the Wu household brought a lot of apology gifts to the Zhenguo Duke Estate and left empty handed.
These things were packed up by Second Madam Shen and all sent over to the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. Yan Yan gained a small fortune because of this.
Soon after, rumors spread that this matter had a different cause. It involved the miss of the previous Assistant Minister Pei’s household….
This matter was spread far and wide. Everyone in the capital more or less knew about it.
The Pei household had expected to suffer a little. They couldn’t help it since they weren’t as influential. However, Eldest Madam Wu had gone overboard. It was sufficient to just leak the matter a little and leave them some room to maneuver. The Pei household had planned on pushing the matter onto Yan Qian and say she had ulterior motives in deceiving Pei Jia Yu. They were even prepared to erase her from the family registry and break off their relationship. Unexpectedly, Eldest Madam Wu didn’t leave them any room to retreat. Not only did she make it known to everyone, she even insisted that Pei Jia Yu had led her innocent daughter astray.
Which household didn’t have several misses? Even if Eldest Madam Pei was willing to swallow this grievance for the sake of her daughter who married into the Wu household, the others weren’t willing.
Therefore, this was the start of a huge catfight.
The Pei household was naturally no match for the Wu household. First of all their statuses were uneven. The Pei household’s women had suffered several losses and they grew resentful. Old grudges added onto new ones, and they ended up publicly revealing that the imperial examination scandal’s culprit was actually High Official Wu. As for Assistant Minister Pei, he had been forced to take the blame.
The conditions were that High Official Wu would help Pei Nan get back to the capital after a few years. For the sake of easing the Pei household’s worries, they sealed their alliance with a marriage.
This matter was a stone that caused a thousand waves.
Emperor Xi was furious and ordered a thorough investigation.
High Official Wu resigned and recused himself at home. The investigation was conducted by the judicial office. Things might have still been fine if it weren’t for this investigation, which turned up many other things. Not only did High Official Wu get sacked, it also implicated several other people. The exiled Pei Nan had been enduring these years until he could return to the capital. Although he couldn’t resume his previous post, High Official Wu definitely wouldn’t mistreat him.
Unexpectedly this event occurred. When he received the news, Pei Nan spat a mouthful of blood and ended up passing away. He was old to begin with. How could he endure such a shock?
Of course, this was a matter for the future.
When Yan Ting left the Rongan Hall, he headed to the Jinse Pavilion.
At this time, Shen Yi Yao was getting ready to bathe and sleep. Seeing Yan Ting arrive, she met with him in the main hall.
This was a relatively distant move. Shen Yi Yao understood this, and Yan Ting actually understood as well.
Ever since Shen Yi Yao returned, Yan Ting had come a couple of times to show goodwill. Unfortunately, Shen Yi Yao didn’t accept any of it and remained distant. She even had all of Yan Ting’s things moved out of the Jinse Pavilion a few days after getting back.
Yan Ting had two studies. One in the front court and one in the rear. Nowadays, he often slept in his study or went to the Ziyu Pavilion’s Concubine Lan. Everyone knew that Concubine Lan was very cherished by Yan Ting, but what of it? The person who used to care had long since stopped caring.
As for Concubine Lan, she had also changed her ways and became very low-key. After being punished that time, she had come to pay respects at the Jinse Pavilion after recovering from her wounds. However, Shen Yi Yao had said she didn’t need to come if there wasn’t any reason. Those who understood knew she wasn’t liked by the madam. There were also some who didn’t understand and thought Shen Yi Yao was jealous.
This won’t be mentioned for now. Yan Ting brought up the matter of the Great Autumn Hunt. Shen Yi Yao muttered to herself for a moment before nodding in agreement.
The hunt organized by the royal family would always have nobles and major officials in attendance. Those who were able to attend would bring honor to their entire family. Yan Ting had attended in the past before, but that was always using the Zhenguo Duke’s name. This was the first time he used his own name.
Shen Yi Yao could tell Yan Ting was pleased with himself, but this unfamiliar man in front of her could no longer evoke any emotions within her. The reason she agreed to go was for the sake of her daughter.
Family members could be brought along to the Great Autumn Hunt. The good sons of various estates would also be attending, hoping to make an impression on the emperor. Therefore, there would certainly be many noblewomen who would bring their own misses along. One reason was to make things lively and another was to see if there was anyone suitable for their daughters.
Yan Ting left after speaking. He did reveal some signs of wanting Shen Yi Yao to ask him to stay, but her thoughts were not on him.
After he left, Shen Yi Yao pondered and went over to the Ningxiang Chambers.
Yan Mo naturally knew about the matter that had occurred, and was deeply indignant.
But talking too much about it was also not beneficial. He could only use his words to comfort Yan Yan. He told her not to worry, and that he would definitely have an extremely capable brother-in-law in the future.
The siblings were both still young, and talking about these things was very embarrassing. Yan Yan could only express that she wasn’t worried at all and shooed her brother back to his residence.
Yan Mo had just left when Shen Yi Yao arrived.
She didn’t beat around the bush and told her what Yan Ting had said and that she had agreed.
The two still remembered Second Madam Shen’s words. This was to say there was definitely something fishy about this matter?
However, Shen Yi Yao and Yan Yan weren’t worried. First of all, Yan Yan’s marriage required Shen Yi Yao’s approval. Secondly, each generation’s emperor had a mutual understanding with the each generation’s Zhenguo Duke that they wouldn’t be involved through marriage. Therefore, the Shen household didn’t need to worry that his majesty would appoint Yan Yan as the second prince’s consort.
But others didn’t know this so they could just treat it as a circus.
Of course, there was an exception. If the second prince accidentally ruined Yan Yan’s virtue, then they would be helpless. Any other girl might have to worry about this matter, but based on Yan Yan’s skills, she just needed to be slightly alert and this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.
Shen Yi Yao had also considered this point before agreeing. These thoughts made her feel rather strange. It turned out that girls knowing martial arts wasn’t a bad thing.
Furthermore, she and Yan Yan both wanted to see just what kind of damned scheme Yan Ting had come up with!
This won’t be mentioned for now. The matter was thus decided.
After sending the music box, Luo Huai Yuan felt very nervous.
This music box was something that came from Portugal, and was rather precious. The moment he got it, he had wanted to gift it to his little consort. But he didn’t like that the two dolls were ugly westerners. How could they compare to him and his little consort?
He found some craftsmen later to specially make those two little dolls. After replacing them, the effect was pretty good. However, he never dared take it out in front of Yan Yan. He treated it as his own little mischief and would occasionally admire it by himself. He didn’t even let Xiao An Zi see it.
If he hadn’t been determined to take a huge leap this time, he still wouldn’t have dared to bring it out. This was because the moment he did so, it would reveal everything in his mind. It would be different from the step-by-step approach he had planned before. But the little consort was truly too oblivious. He was truly afraid she would be matched with someone else while she remained ignorant. He would be out of luck then.
Luo Huai Yuan had already realized the weirdness of his previous life’s marriage. He still couldn’t figure out why that cheap dad of his married Yan Yan to him as his consort.
Was it because the little consort’s name was ruined in his past life? But with the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s influence, that shouldn’t have been a problem. Therefore, he felt things weren’t that simple.
Thinking of this, Luo Huai Yuan couldn’t sit still anymore. He hadn’t forgotten about the butterfly effect. Many things had changed this time around. What if those butterfly wings blew away his little consort? He wouldn’t be able to accept such an outcome!
Luo Huai Yuan had decided to take the initiative and make a move.
After sending the thing over, he had been worried for several days. The little consort didn’t show any response.
The thoughts of women were too hard to fathom. He didn’t know if she had been frightened or too pleasantly surprised. Overall, he felt that the chances of his little consort being frightened was higher.
Right as he was suffering, someone suddenly came from the palace. They informed him that the fourth prince must participate in the upcoming hunt, and invited him back to the palace to make preparations. At that time, he would head out along with the masters in the palace.
This matter happened too suddenly. He didn’t have time to wonder why they let him participate this year. He could only send that eunuch back by saying he would immediately prepare his carriage.
These words were naturally superficial. Prior to returning, he had to finish arranging his matters. The hunt was in half a month. If he didn’t finish arranging things, he wouldn’t feel at ease in leaving.
But since time was short, he wasn’t able to get in touch with the little consort. Luo Huai Yuan didn’t realize that Yan Yan would be attending this time as well.
Forcing the old madam. The Pei household is completely finished this time. However, she still hasn’t realized how things will turn out, and is still dreaming of having an empress in their household. At that time, we’ll add some fuel to the fire…