Chapter 017: Resentment
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What happened in the Northern Courtyard reached the Western Courtyard very soon.
Hu XiaYun threw the hot tea that had just been brewed directly on the ground, and the hot tea splashed on QiuYi who was kneeling on the ground. QiuYi did not have time to control herself for a moment, and screamed. When she reacted, she was shaking all over her body, then she kowtowed, “Madam forgive me. This slave maid is not intentional.” Hu XiaYun looked at QiuYi’s series of reactions coldly, and the jealousy in her heart seemed to burn her whole person, and she couldn’t be calm for a long time.
“You really saw Third master handing Jiang YanZhi a piece of jade?” Hu XiaYun asked again uncertainly, “Are you sure you didn’t see it wrong?”
There were tears in the corner of QiuYi’s eyes, “The slave maid did not see it wrong. Third master did really give Young Master YanZhi that, that piece of jade.”
Hu XiaYun squeezed the handle of the chair abruptly, gritted her teeth, and said word by word: “Third Master has never given Qi’er a piece of jade.”
QiuYi endured the pain of her legs being scalded, forced a smile, she went along with and said: “Didn’t know what kind of evil possessed Third Master. However, it could be possible that Third Master did it just for show in front of outsiders, but he didn’t really mean it.”
Hu XiaYun stood up, a little irritated, she took two steps, her face was full of gloominess, “Nonsense! You know nothing. That piece of jade of Third Master, actually is what the Old Lady especially asked and brought back from the imperial city. Don’t even mention other things, just the significance of it is .........”
The sentence had not been completed yet, Hu XiaYun stopped talking, her face was full of gloominess.
Third Master Jiang gave Jiang YanZhi a piece of jade, but he never gave her Qi’er anything. How could this kind of special treatment make Hu XiaYun let it go smoothly?
QiuYi got up from the ground tactfully and left the room quietly.
The Old Lady who had already fallen asleep only learned about this the next day. When she learned what Third Master Jiang had done, she immediately asked her servants to call back Third Master Jiang who was still working in the government office.
Third Master Jiang was hurriedly called back by the Old Lady early in the morning. He thought it was something urgent, so he didn’t even take off his official uniform, and went straight into the Western Courtyard.
The Old Lady was sitting on the low couch, her body was covered with a soft quilt, her eyes lowered, yet she didn’t speak for a long time.
Third Master Jiang, who had been ignored by the Old Lady, finally remembered something, and asked after thinking about it: “Is Mother angry about what this son did last night?”
The Old Lady raised her eyes and glanced at Third Master Jiang lukewarmly. Her eyes were full of blame, but more likely, she was helpless, “What did you do last night? Were you out of your mind?”
Third Master Jiang rubbed his forehead awkwardly and said, “Mother, this is the second time I have seen YanZhi. The last time I saw him, he was still in his infancy. As his third uncle, I still haven’t given him anything yet.”
“I know you don’t want to give outsiders a chance to gossip.” The Old Lady became even angrier when she mentioned this. “But in life, it is impossible to do everything foolproof. Not to mention that it’s no good no matter what thing you gave him, you especially even gave that piece of jade!”
Third Master Jiang smiled helplessly, and listened to the Old Lady’s muttering, resigned to his fate.
The Old Lady murmured: “I specially brought that piece of jade back from the imperial city, and I invited an eminent monk to consecrate it. That is to protect your future official career. You tell me. For what reason, you just gave it to a little child who doesn’t understand anything”
Third Master Jiang smiled indifferently: “The thing has already been given, so let’s not mention it again.”
The Old Lady sneered, as if she was laughing at Third Master Jiang’s naiveness. Third Master Jiang was a man, and a scholar who only knew to read the books of sages. How could he know the rights and wrongs of the women in the backyard?
Sure enough. Third Master Jiang still didn’t feel that he had done anything wrong.
“You only gave one to Jiang YanZhi, but you didn’t give one for Qi’er. Youngest, have you considered what Xia Yun would think about it?” The Old Lady lowered her eyes and said no more.
Third Master Jiang felt that the Old Lady was worrying too much. Hu XiaYun was not short of money, how could she mind a piece of jade? So, he said, “Qi’er isn’t lack of any jade in recent years, so Sister-in-law shouldn’t mind. Mother is worrying too much.”
The Old Lady waved her hand, not wanting to argue with her stupid son, and said, “That piece of jade, what have given is already given. But Youngest, you have to remember, from now on, whatever you have, you must give it to Qi’er first. Others people, don’t pay much attention to them.”
Third Master Jiang pursed his lips. Because of the previous generation, his mother could never stand Jiang LinZhi. He used to think it was nothing, but now he thought his mother had done too much.
Even if Jiang LinZhi’s mother had done too much, it was a thing in the past, and it shouldn’t have implicated Jiang LinZhi, and it should not even involved and hurt Jiang YanZhi.
But Third Master Jiang did not persuade the Old Lady. After a while, he said: “Okay, I’ll remember.”
The Old Lady smiled satisfyingly, “After a while, I will give the eminent monk another piece of jade and let him consecrate it. By the way, I will ask him to make a calculation on your marriage.”
Third Master Jiang was taken aback, and then nodded as usual.
After talking about this matter, the mother and son talked about other things casually, but before long, the Old Lady was sleepy and Third Master Jiang had to get up and leave.
At the Eastern courtyard.
Pei Cheng might have caught a cold last night, so when he woke up this morning, he felt a headache and felt uncomfortable, but he didn’t take it seriously. SanXi came over with a plate of pastries which had just been brought out of the steamer and the steam was still coming out, then he placed it on the desk. In front of Pei Cheng who was reading, he said in a low voice: “The pastry that the chef has just steamed is here. Madam, would you like to taste it?”
Pei Cheng was about to turn the next page, he looked at SanXi, and asked: “This pastry was delivered as soon as it was out of the pot?”
SanXi immediately understood, and hurriedly added another sentence, saying: “Yes. I just asked the servant who delivered the cakes specially. He said that Second Master had ordered it this morning. From now on, the chef will make a special trip to send the freshly steamed sweet cakes to this courtyard every day.”
Pei Cheng pursed his lips, he didn’t know what to say for quite a while, and when he recovered, SanXi had already consciously walked to the door and stood there.
The sweet cake in front of him was still hot with steam coming out.
Pei Cheng stared at the sweet cake in front of him for a while, then stretched out his hand, picked up a piece, and put it into his mouth while it was hot.
The sweet and greasy taste immediately filled the entire mouth, and Pei Cheng unconsciously squinted his eyes and his whole face showed how much he enjoyed it.
Maybe it was because he rarely had a chance to eat sweets when he was a child, or because his life was too bitter. In short, Pei Cheng liked sweets very much. The sweeter, the more he enjoyed it.
After eating three pieces in a row, Pei Cheng couldn’t eat anymore. He looked at the plate in front of him, pursing his lips, thinking that Jiang YanZhi in the yard next door was still learning words with Jiang LinZhi, he stood up and walked towards the direction of the courtyard gate.
San Xi, who was just about to follow Pei Cheng’s steps, was stopped. Pei Cheng said, “Let the cook send a plate of sweet cakes and salty cakes to Second Master’s courtyard.”
Jiang LinZhi didn’t like to eat sweet cakes, Pei Cheng could still see it.
SanXi responded the order. After watching Pei Cheng leave, he curled his lips and ran towards the kitchen quickly. Pei Cheng stood at the door of the room, reaching out to stop Dong Lai, who was about to go in and report, and then he said in a low voice: “I’m just taking a look, don’t disturb Second Master.”
Dong Lai nodded without hesitation. After being called by Second Master to order the kitchen to steam sweet cakes for Pei Cheng early this morning, he did not dare to show an improper attitude towards Pei Cheng.
Pei Cheng stood at the door of the room, listening to the sound coming from the room.
Jiang LinZhi took a book, read a paragraph, and after explaining the meaning of the passage concisely, he glanced at the direction of the door, pressed the corner of his mouth (that had risen), and said: “Write the words that I just taught you.”
Jiang YanZhi did not touch the brush pen in front of him, put his hands on the table, and looked up at Jiang LinZhi solemnly.
Jiang LinZhi frowned and said, “Why don’t you write?”
His patience with Jiang YanZhi was only because the other party had his own blood. If it weren’t for this, he would never waste his time teaching a kid who didn’t know anything, even if this little child was very sensible, and wouldn’t make trouble.
But Jiang LinZhi still didn’t have much favorable impression on Jiang YanZhi.
Jiang YanZhi stiffened for a moment. Jiang LinZhi didn’t like him, however, he was also the same towards Jiang LinZhi.
When Jiang LinZhi was impatient, Jiang YanZhi said in a low voice, “Father, how do you write Daddy’s name.”
The implication was that he didn’t want to learn the words Jiang LinZhi taught him today, but wanted to write Pei Cheng’s name.
How could it be possible that Jiang LinZhi couldn’t understand the meaning of Jiang YanZhi’s words? He squinted his eyes, and a thought flashed through his eyes, then walked to Jiang YanZhi’s side, picked up the pen, and scribbled two words.
It could be said that words (handwriting) define the person (i.e. his personality).* However, Jiang LinZhi’s handwriting was different from the feeling he gave others. The words he wrote were bold, powerful and vigorous, not really like a person who has suffered an illness for a long time.
*(T/N: 字如其人 - I just translated it as ‘words (handwriting) define the person’. It means that you can decide one’s personality just from looking at his handwriting.)
Jiang YanZhi took the pen, and learned and copied Jiang LinZhi’s characters to write Pei Cheng’s name on the paper.
Pei Cheng listened for a long time and didn’t hear anything. He was about to turn around and leave, but he heard SanXi who followed him saying, “Madam, the sweet cakes and salty cakes are all steamed.”
Pei Cheng: “......”
After the sound of a click, Jiang LinZhi stood at the door; there was no expression on his face, but inexplicably made Pei Cheng feel that Jiang LinZhi was very happy right now.
SanXi held the plate. Compared with Pei Cheng, he was more afraid of Jiang LinZhi, whom was very unpredictable to serve. SanXi bowed respectfully, holding the plate in his hand very firmly. He said, “Second Master.”
Jiang LinZhi glanced at these people, and finally stopped his gaze on Pei Cheng’s body, and said, “Why don’t you come in?”
Pei Cheng touched his nose a little awkwardly. He never thought of going in from the beginning to the end. Since Jiang LinZhi had spoken, he couldn’t refute Jiang LinZhi and let him lose face in front of everyone, so he followed Jiang LinZhi’s words and said, “Ok, then, I’ll take a look at you two.”
Sitting behind the writing desk, Jiang YanZhi’s eyes lit up and he could not help but looked in the direction of the door, he just heard Pei Cheng’s voice. SanXi put the plate with salty cakes and sweet cakes on the table in the room, and said, “Hello, Young Master YanZhi”, and then he bowed his waist and left quietly.
Pei Cheng walked to Jiang YanZhi’s side by himself. Before he had time to speak, he saw the two words written in flamboyant, bold and cursive style on the paper, and he was stunned at the same place for a long time without responding.
Jiang YanZhi thought that Pei Cheng was angry, so he put down his pen anxiously, and waited dejectedly for Pei Cheng to scold him.
Pei Cheng did not scold him.
Standing on the side, Jiang LinZhi brought all the complicated expressions on Pei Cheng’s face into his eyes, and then silently picked up a piece of salty cake and put it into his mouth.
In the next second, Jiang LinZhi’s brow furrowed, he accelerated his chewing, and swallowed quickly.
He didn’t like sweet cakes, nor did he like salty cakes.
He thought that after so many years, his taste would change over time, but now it seemed that certain dislikes that were in his bones will not change over time.