[TYCDTN] – Chapter 104 Part 2
Translated by: Oinkoink
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Names mentioned in this chapter (which can also be found in the glossary):
-永乐侯府 (Yǒng lè hóu fǔ)- Marquis Yongle manor
-老太太 (Lǎo tàitài) – Old Madam
-虞妙琪 (Yu miao qi) – the original fl of the novel and Yu Pin Yan’s Di younger sister
“You go back then, Lin Shi will stay.” Old Madam instead took out the account books from the box and looked at Yu Si Yu, “I’ve been told that you are fully responsible for managing the few hamlets in the countryside, so let Old Ancestor see if you have made any progress.”
Yu Si Yu gladly agreed while Yu Xiang also picked up a stack of account books. How could Yu Miao Qi dare to go back alone, so she merely sent the four Momo and the four maidservants away with kind words then walked over to take a seat with Lin Shi.
“Mother, please give this daughter-in-law another chance, Mother. Daughter-in-law …” Lin Shi tried to beg forgiveness from Old Madam. Inwardly, she did not think there was any problem with the account books and merely thought that it were messes made by those groups of servants who deceived their superiors and duped the subordinates which had absolutely nothing to do with her daughter. But at that time when those servants pushed the blame on her daughter in the presence of all the guests, she was not able to refute as their words were said with certainty and could only do her best to assume the blame.
Old Madam interrupted her sharply, “Shut up, wait until the books are all checked before you talk to me!” As she said that, she had three abacuses sent over.
The matter of household management is usually unrelated to man, so Yu Pin Yan did not participate but merely smiled at his younger sister’s serious expression. Noticing his scorching gaze, Yu Xiang looked at the Old Ancestor and found that she was engrossed in the books without paying attention to herself, hence her moist red lips slightly pouted. This is her usual action of roping a kiss from her elder brother which in the end, she even fluttered an extremely teasing little glance.
The hand which was holding the teacup tightened abruptly and if it were not for the many people in the hall, Yu Pin Yan really wanted to take this little minx into his arms and loved her thoroughly.
Once Yu Xiang was done teasing her elder brother, she opened the account book and looked at it seriously. She was so fast that she had already skimmed through four to five books while others had only done a small part of them and even circled the questionable parts with a red-inked pen. After an hour later, all the account books had been browsed through when she took out the abacus and speedily fiddled it with her fingers. Momentarily, only the string of pitter-patter sounds was heard in the hall.
Old Madam and Yu Si Yu had long stopped their movements. When she finished calculating one book, they handed her another which her speed was as fast as lightning.
The fine sweat on Yu Miao Qi’s forehead had already coalesced into sweat beads that trickled down along her hairline to her neck. This was the first time she got a view of Yu Xiang’s bookkeeping with her own eyes that the skilled astute eyesight and amazing speed truly shocked her. It was precisely due to Yu Xiang’s extreme competence that aroused her competitive determination whereby she desperately wanted to surpass her.
However, after more than half a year of tossing about, she discovered with dismay that the disparity between her and Yu Xiang was not equally matched as she had imagined it would be. She still seems to be very far behind.
Quietly she moved her arm and pulled Lin Shi’s hand over then wrote stroke by stroke on Lin Shi’s palm, “Mother, help me!”
Lin Shi glanced at her with an unknowing look.
She then wrote once again with eyes revealing deep desperation and pleading. Realizing something all of a sudden, Lin Shi’s eyes widened while her pupils constricted as she silently mouthed; Had you really use the household fund?
Yu Miao Qi had to nod her head to admit it. She originally only wanted to embezzle a little and returned it once the shops made profit. Who would have thought, the shops deficit more and more that no sound of silvers was heard no matter how much was pumped in. She became anxious then, but there was no way to reverse the desperate situation. She could only scrape together and moved around to patch it up. If it wasn’t really no way out, she would not have dare to take hold of the idea to hit on Old Madam’s share.
Lin Shi was so scared that her whole body started to shake. She originally thought to let Old Madam check the account books first then with no problem, perhaps she can stay after a few pleading words. But if her daughter has really embezzled the public fund, she is afraid she will only be driven out in dire poverty. This is her and Junjie’s home which preserves many beautiful memories which she is reluctant to leave, let alone losing the status of Junjie’s wife …
If she can’t be buried with Junjie after death, where will she go to find him in the nether world? Thinking of this, Lin Shi actually gave rise to endless resentment towards Yu Miao Qi but seeing her eyes full of fear, Lin Shi became soft-hearted again while her internal organs seemed to have been scraped by a steel knife.
While the two of them were exchanging glances, Yu Xiang closed the last account book and let out a long sigh. Yu Pin Yan kneaded her sore fingers and fed her a cup of tea.
“Yu Miao Qi, do you know you are like a groundhog?” No one expected her first sentence to be this.
Old Madam and Yu Si Yu were dumbfounded while Yu Pin Yan also revealed a puzzled look.
Yu Miao Qi felt uncertain of what this sentence actually meant and asked with a forced smile, “What is Younger Sister joking about?”
“I’m not joking.” Yu Xiang patted the account books, “Look at yourself, dug a pit here then a pit there. Fill a handful of soil here and a handful there where a perfectly good piece of land has been dug with innumerable holes by you, don’t you think you resemble a groundhog?”
Yu Miao Qi understood this time and her face immediately turned ghastly pale.
Yu Xiang’s brisk tone unexpectedly turned stern, “If you don’t have the ability, don’t take hold of such a big structure. You can close down the business if the dowry shops are losing money, why use the public fund to fill it? You think the money from the public fund is your private asset? I have seen many people of all kinds but this is the first time I’ve seen someone as incompetent, prodigal and greedy like you. You have embezzled sixty-eight thousand four hundred and forty-eight taels of silver in just half a year’s time, tell me what should be done.”
“No, the silver was not taken by Qi’er, it was me!” Without waiting for Yu Miao Qi’s response, Lin Shi had already pounced towards Old Madam’s feet. She had lost her husband and son, she could not lose her daughter too.