[TYCDTN] – Chapter 20 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
-承嗣 (Chéng sì) – The Crown Prince
靖國公 (Jìng guó gōng) – Duke Jingguo
-靖國公府 (Jìng guó gōng fǔ) – Duke Jingguo manor
-杜氏 (Dù shì) – Duke Jingguo’s main wife
-常雅芙 (Cháng yǎ fú) – Yu Pin Yan’s prenatal betrothal, Duke Jingguo’s 2nd daughter
In order to avoid the Ninth Princess from overeating, only three servings were prepared for each dish which was served in the small white jade bowls. Both had consumed a lot of energy crying, though one was feigning while the other was genuine. As such, they were thoroughly enjoying their meals and soon the assorted dishes were totally wiped clean, except for one large braised meatball in soy sauce. Little Qiu’er reached out to pick it but was poked away by Yu Xiang’s chopstick and was placed on the side of her mouth to swallow.
Little Qiu’er looked at her eagerly.
Yu Xiang passed the meatball over.
Little Qiu’er pleasingly opened her mouth to bite but Yu Xiang withdrew the meatball at the moment she was about to bite.
Little Qiu’er only snapped in a mass of air that her upper teeth knocked against the lower teeth making out a crisp crackling sound. With tears in her eyes, she looked at her accusingly.
Yu Xiang pulled a long face as she passed the chopstick over again yet Little Qiu’er snapped into the thin air once again. She was enticed as such for three times that each time she was still getting fooled. Yu Xiang really wasn’t able to hold back and lay prone on the table laughing. Looking at her pitiable expression of wanting to eat but unable to do so, she finally fed her the meatball in exchange for a grateful foolish smile.
Old Madam Yu who was accompanying the Empress felt incessantly embarrassed that she had rotated the rosary beads and lowered her head, chanting the scriptures with the thought of out of sight, out of mind.
The Empress however didn’t feel angry at all, instead she covered her mouth and lightly chuckled. Even after knowing the identity of Little Qiu’er, she was still able to unaffectedly and naturally get along with her. She didn’t grovelled, flattered or bowed submissively. There was no fictitious enthusiasm, but only genuine fondness for her daughter. She could make her daughter cry as well as amused her to laugh and allow her to become extremely lively. This had already greatly exceeded the expectation of the Empress. This child was truly good and Qiu’er really needed such a spirited playmate, lest she becomes more reclusive.
The Empress suppressed her laughter that she beckoned to Old Madam Yu and walked towards the main hall then candidly spoke after she took a seat, “Old Madam Yu, Bengong likes this granddaughter of yours. Let her enter the palace to be Little Jiu’s companion.”
Old Madam Yu hesitated, “Her legs….”
The Empress waved her hand, “It’s all right. Just send several more momo to serve her.”
After pondering for a moment, Old Madam Yu decided to reveal the truth of Yu Xiang’s background. Anything that related to the imperial family wouldn’t have been simple. Yu Xiang would be serving a princess and her status must match with the princess. If someday, the matter was exposed, wouldn’t they be crowned with the crime of “Deceiving the Monarch”? Perhaps the situation would be much worse if the Empress took a pity and wanted to find a good husband for Yu Xiang, they would offend more people should her identity be exposed after a wedding decree was issued.
The Marquis manor could be now regarded as a victim for losing a Di daughter if she was to reveal the truth but if she was to conceal the matter, when the time comes the pretender would truly turn into the perpetrator instead and could be drowned by everybody’s spit.
Though those few maidservants and pozi had already been completely dealt with, it was still better be safe than sorry and it wouldn’t be wrong to handle everything with the worst case scenario in mind. As such, even if Old Madam Yu would hide the truth from everyone in the world, she wouldn’t dare deceiving the imperial family.
As expected, the Empress was extremely surprised and took a deep sigh after a moment of silence, “There is still such an unexpected turn of events. This is truly Heaven messing with people’s fate. Has the real Yu Xiang been found?”
“Responding to the Empress, we are still searching.” Old Madam Yu shook her head with a wry smile.
This was purely the secret only to be known within the manor that should be kept strictly from any outsiders. The Empress was absolutely pleased with the loyalty the Old Madam showed with such honesty, but she didn’t mention the matter about searching for her. Marquis Yongle manor could resolve this themselves. There was no way to know if the real Yu Xiang was alive or dead and how her circumstances were but to securely cover this matter was certainly the way to pave the back-up routes for her.
Tentatively, she would just treat as if she had never heard about this.
The Empress smiling stated after she had thought it through, “Don’t worry. With Yi Feng’s ability, she will inevitably be found one day.” With a frown she pondered for a moment before she continued, “You’ve taught Yu Xiang extremely well. She had great moral integrity, intelligent and magnanimous. It doesn’t matter about being the study companion. Just send her to the palace every three or five days to keep Little Jiu company. She rarely finds such a lovely playmate.”
This matter could be reckoned as clear and over that Old Madam Yu released a breath of relief and hastily agreed at the same time.
Yu Pin Yan carried Yu Xiang out of the palace door and saw Yu Si Yu standing beside the carriage with her head hung low from afar, unknowing what was in her mind. Old Madam coldly snorted when she caught sight of her and also saw Duke Jingguo’s carriage waiting by the side that her expression turned even gloomier.
“Old Madam, can we have some words?” Duke Jingguo’s wife greeted her with a smile.
“No. It’s not early. We should all go home.” Old Madam didn’t look at the past as she personally opened the carriage curtain letting her grandson place her granddaughter into the carriage.
“Grandmother, let me support you.” Yu Xi Yu perceptively took this opportunity.
Old Madam suppressed her anger as there was an outsider present that she put her hand onto Yu Si Yu’s arm to ascend the carriage. Yu Si Yu felt somewhat settled that she flashed a pleasant smile to her Elder Brother who was straddling on the horse and hurriedly climbed into the carriage then submissively sat at the corner.
Yu Xiang grinned at her then lifted the curtain to admire the varying pallid face of Duke Jingguo’s wife. Chang Ya Fu didn’t show herself at all and hid to avoid others in the carriage. The wheels slowly rolled as the dimness of the night gradually swallowed the silhouette of Duke Jingguo’s wife and turned into a vague dark spot. Yu Xiang quietly sat down before asking, “Grandmother, is Elder Brother really going to marry Elder Sister Fu’er?”
“This is still an unresolved matter. Little children shouldn’t ask so much.” With her eyes closed, Old Madam muttered to herself.
She was getting more unsatisfied with this marriage arrangement. The betrayal of Duke Jingguo manor had always been a thorn in her heart. After seeing Chang Ya Fu today, the thorn had not only been pulled out but was pricked deeper. She could forget about the intention of breaking off the engagement, however she instead joined hands with the outsiders to swindle the younger sister-in-law’s thing. What was wrong with her? On the surface it would appear as if she was helping Xiang’er out of a predicament, but secretly she intended to please Qinghe Junzhu. This trick of preening herself in front of both sides was indeed an inferior tactic.
The most vexing was that she was so short-sighted, not even knowing who she should get close to or alienate herself from. The Emperor’s guillotine was already hanging above Prince Yu’s head yet she still rushed to fawn. This could only be regarded as a futile attempt. It would be a disaster to receive such a seemingly shrewd but was in fact a stupid granddaughter-in-law into their family!
Pondering over this, Old Madam shook her head and heaved a sigh.
Yu Si Yu cautiously moved closer to give her shoulder a massage.
“Don’t busy yourself. Just stay there. What did I tell you before we left today? Ally with the outsiders to deal with your own sister. You are truly promising. With the Empress’ assertion about lack of virtue, it will be difficult even if I want to find you a good husband. You’re on your own now.” Old Madam gloomily looked away from her and caught sight of Yu Xiang who was busily nibbling a pastry. She smiled and warmly urged, “You must be alert when you enter the palace and don’t play tricks on the Ninth Princess again.”
“I know.” Yu Xiang sweetly promised and gazed at the sudden bulge of bluish veins on the back of Yu Si Yu’s hands.