Scheme of the Official Descendant Chapter 7


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Confront


She noticed that she had explained everything that needed to be said so Ren Yaoqi got up and said, “It’s getting late. I’ll go back first.”

She had fallen asleep earlier after taking the medicine since she’s been sick. Moreover, it was now past her bedtime hours and she was very tired after talking so much.

Nanny Zhou saw that she appeared listless, and knew that she must be feeling uncomfortable, so she hurriedly asked Xi’er to come forward and help her, “Fifth Miss, let Xi’er take you back to your room. Let her be on night duty for tonight. Since the maids around you are unreliable, it’s better to guard against them.”

Ren Yaoqi allowed Nanny Zhou to carefully tidy up the cloak and hood on her body, “Xi’er should return after sending me back. Mother needs someone on her side. You only came back and there are many outsiders in Ziwei Courtyard so the manpower is stretched to the limit. Although the two side maids were assigned to me by Concubine Fang, they won’t dare to blatantly disobey me. They have been serving me for quite some time now and have not made any major mistake. Besides, my illness has also gotten better, I’m not in need of care more than Mother now.”

When Momo Zhou heard those words, her expression warmed up, “There is still ‘this slave’1 around Madam. So Fifth Miss doesn’t need to worry.”

Ren Yaoqi still shook her head, “At this moment, it’s better to avoid unnecessary trouble. Let it be for the time being. If I am still not well in a few days, I will ask Nanny then for ‘sister’2 Xi’er to take care of me.”

Nanny Zhou is the steward that Li-shi relied on the most. The four maids Xi’er, Qu’er, and Ying’er and Zhu’er, who have now been sent to the outer courtyard are the confidantes meticulously trained to serve Li-shi. It’s better to keep such people beside her. 

Nanny Zhou couldn’t persuade her anymore after seeing her so insistent. So she sent her out in person and watched her disappear at the corner door of the front hall surrounded by several maids, only then did she turn around and return to the main room.

When she entered the east room, she saw Ren Yaohua had remained seated at the master’s seat. She was holding a small silver scissors and fiddling with the wick on the blue and white porcelain candlestick, causing the shadow of the candle to flicker with her every move.

Nanny Zhou softly sighed, she walked forward and took away the scissors from Ren Yaohua’s hand, “Third Miss, be careful lest it burn your hands.”

Ren Yaohua had always respected Nanny Zhou, the old servant beside her mother so she didn’t say much.

“Third Miss, when Concubine Fang comes tomorrow to pay her respect to Madam, if she proposes to serve Madam during her sickness, let her refuse it. She is cunning but Madam is honest, she won’t even know when she had ‘eaten a loss’.3 Although you can control her, you’re after all of the lower generation, it’s not good for a daughter to chide her Father’s concubine. It will damage your reputation if other people were to know.”

Ren Yaohua gave a faint “hmm” sound.

Although she’s not afraid for her reputation to stink, Ren Yaoqi’s words weren’t unreasonable. She didn’t want to fall to that bitch’s trap this time. There would be plenty of opportunities to fix her in the future.

“This Concubine Fang ‘can really count her abacus well’.4 I could have never foreseen her to be so sinister and malicious. If you fall into her scheme and ruin your reputation, not only will you lose Old Madam’s favor but also offend the other masters in the house. If there is no you in front of the Old Madam to intercede in the Ziwei courtyard, Madam’s future will definitely be more difficult. Wouldn’t we be pinched when the Third Branch fell into her hands?”5

Nanny Zhou couldn’t help but break out in cold sweat when she thought of this. Concubine Fang may have designed Ren Yaohua to offend Old Madam, Eldest Madam, Second Madam, and Fifth Madam’s servants, but she knew all too well how powerful these old maids can do at critical moments in front of their masters.

“I’ll write down this account!”6 Ren Yaohua’s soft and still immature face flashed a ferocious expression, and Nanny Zhou who accidentally caught a glimpse of it couldn’t help but shudder.

Nanny Zhou looked at Ren Yaohua’s dark and unclear gloomy look, causing worry to sprout in her heart, “Third Miss, since Fifth Miss has shown her goodwill to you first, you two sisters should get along well in the future.”

Ren Yaohua took a glance at Nanny Zhou and with a cold tone, “She plotted against me and got me chased out from the Ren estate and now you want me to just write it off like that?”

Nanny Zhou was at a loss and could only persuade carefully, “Fifth Miss was only nine years old at that time, and with Concubine Fang being this crafty, that she couldn’t distinguish right from wrong is pardonable since she’s been used by the other. Just look at what she said today, which sentence is not for your own good? You are both ‘di-born’7  sisters, you should support and help each other as you’re ‘crossing the river in the same boat’.”8

Otherwise, wouldn’t you be going along exactly towards that woman’s intention, and causing your mother to weep alone9 because of your discord?”

Ren Yaohua’s face remained expressionless and she did not say a word.

Nanny Zhou carefully looked at her expression and wanted to persuade her again, but Ren Yaohua had already stood up, “We’re all tired after rushing on the road all day and night, so let’s rest early today. I’ll go back first and will visit mother tomorrow morning.”

Nanny Zhou had to tamp down the words in her heart after seeing her like this, having the thought that she would have a chance later on to slowly mediate. These two sisters, one is very firm and decisive, and the other is clever and intelligent. If they could be of one mind, would there be a need to worry about one Concubine Fang?

After a night of chilly breeze, Ren Yaoqi woke up late the next day and still was a bit groggy.

However, she remembered that Concubine Fang would have paid her respects to Li-shi this morning, and she couldn’t stay lying down anymore when she wondered if anything went wrong. She was about to call her maids to come in and wait for her when she heard the voice of Xi’er, the maid serving beside her mother.

“…The weather is cold today, this hot tea should be kept warm on the charcoal stove so that the master can quench her thirst at any time. You have to know that even if it’s a first-rate silver carbon shred, if you burn it for a long time in the inner room, it can also cause one to feel stuffy. Therefore, this charcoal stove must be placed in a ventilated hall. While the tea in the master’s inner room must be changed every three quarters of an hour.” 

“When we entered the estate, Concubine had instructed us to learn the rules from Steward Yan who serves beside Eldest Madam, but Steward Yan didn’t teach us these rules.” Qingmei muttered somewhat unconvinced.

Xi’er coldly said, “Am I not teaching them now? If you can’t even learn these rules then the rest of you go tell Concubine Fang and ask her to change and pick a smarter maid for our Fifth Miss! You think the monthly salary of 800 Yuan per month for a second-class maid is so easy to get!”

The two maids were silent.

Ren Yaoqi then called out softly.

Not long after, Xi’er lifted the curtain and came in. She hurriedly walked to the bed and saluted to Ren Yaoqi. She smiled and said, “Fifth Miss, are you awake? Do you want to get up and have breakfast now? This slave had asked them to warm the meal on the stove. By the time you had breakfast, the medicine should be ready.” 

Except for New Year’s Eve and other festivities, Ren Family’s big kitchen would allocate three meals a day according to the number of people in each room and courtyard. Apart from Old Madam’s Ronghua Courtyard that has a small kitchen, the rest and even Eldest Madam who’s in charge of the family can only receive meals in the big kitchen.

Of course, if you give the big kitchen some silver, then it’s possible to get preferential treatment.

Xi’er saw Ren Yaoqi nod so she immediately instructed the two maids, Qingmei and Xueli to fetch water for Ren Yaoqi to wash her face and mouth. She came forward to help her put on a lotus cyan Songjiang10 cotton padded jacket.

This kind of jacket is comfortable, light and warm— the kind you wear in the inner room in winter when you don’t have to go out to meet guests.

“Why are you here?” Ren Yaoqi asked out loud when she saw that she and Xi’er were the only people in the room.

Xi’er buttoned her lapels and said with a smile, “Madam became aware that you are ill so she wasn’t reassured. If this slave did not come to see you, Madam would have gone out of the bed herself. Fifth Miss, think of Madam’s concern for you, so don’t drive this servant away.”

Hearing that Li-shi asked her to come, Ren Yaoqi couldn’t say anything about letting Xi’er go back.

“In addition, Nanny Zhou asked this slave to tell Fifth Miss that when Concubine Fang went to pay her respects to Madam this morning, she insisted on staying to serve during her illness, but Madam gently persuaded her to go back. Nanny Zhou said this so you can take care of your illness with a peace of mind. Not letting Madam worry is your filial duty. She is watching over Madam so there won’t be any trouble.”

This kind of words that other people can’t say but Nanny Zhou, Li-shi’s right hand dares to say. She is strict and upright, and she does not shy away from pointing out the mistakes of her little masters without any fear of being hated or rebuked.

Ren Yaoqi nodded to indicate that she understood.

Soon after, Qingmei and Xueli led the maids holding the copper basin, face towels, spittoon, and other things in.

Xi’er allowed the two maids, Qingmei and Xueli to watch to the side as she personally demonstrated how to serve the master’s face washing and cleaning of her teeth.

Xi’er was trained by Nanny Zhou herself, and her careful and attentiveness was naturally not comparable to that of Qingmai and Xueli.

After washing up, Xi’er served Ren Yaoqi breakfast by herself.

When the medicine was brought to her, she smelled it and found that it was back to the same prescription she had been taking.

She doesn’t know if it’s because she’s afraid that Li-shi’s servants would notice something wrong with medicine, or is it because she saw that her ploy to prevent her from easing her relationship with Li-shi and Ren Yaohua had failed, so she simply restrained her hand.

Concubine Fang has always been a person that knew how to judge the situation and act decisively. 

By the third day, Ren Yaoqi had almost recovered from her illness.

This means that she had to resume her ‘daily paying of respect’11 to Old Master and Old Madam Ren.

After more than a decade, she would have to face those so-called blood relatives again.


TL Notes:

Just a fair warning, the next chapter will drop a lot of character names, and the author’s naming sense made many sounds so similar. It can be quite confusing at first so I created a list of characters and their affiliation in the glossary so you will know who’s who. It’s better if you read it by next chapter’s update so you can understand.


Join The Conspirators Club Discord to report typos and grammar mistakes. Leave any comments on anything that I can fix/improve on.

Eastern W. [Translator]

A witch with a broken broom who’s struggling to fill her empty cauldron and have too much love for reading and sour foods.


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Footnotes

  1. This slave (奴婢- núbì): form of “I” that denotes their slave servant position.
  2. Sister (姐姐- jiějie): Not siblings, it denotes the tone of closeness. Bec Xi’er is a maid, a slave servant and has a different status from her, so her underlying words here means she respects the people around Ren Yaohua which is also Li-shi’s people.
  3. Eaten a loss (暗亏): be taken advantage of.
  4. Can really count her abacus well (打的好算盘): (idiom) really good at schemes.
  5. T/N: Can manipulate at will, be at her mercy.
  6. I’ll write down this account (这笔账,我会记下的!): I will remember this grudge, and I will take revenge when I have the opportunity.
  7. Di-born (嫡嫡亲): legitimate, born from the first wife.
  8. Crossing the river in the same boat (同舟共济): (idiom) have common interests / obliged to collaborate towards common goals.
  9. Weep alone (暗自垂泪): secretly cry.
  10. Songjiang (松江): the place where the cotton cloth is produced.
    Something like this: Songjiang jacket

    [collapse]
  11. Daily paying of respect (晨昏定省): the daily show of filial piety to one’s parents, greeting them/paying respects in the morning and attending to them as they lie down to sleep at night.

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