[TYCDTN ]- Chapter 9 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
-馬嬤嬤 (mǎ mó mo)- Old Madam’s personal maidservant
Yu Xiang could not sleep the whole night, afraid of closing her eyes and dreaming of the scene of Yu Pin Yan’s death while repeatedly mulling over in the case of Yu Pin Yan’s death; how would she continue to survive and feel frigidly cold the more she pondered. The pillar of Marquis Yongle manor was condemned to death by her, thus Lin Shi and Old Madam would undoubtedly not be able to tolerate her. In this era, women that were exiled from their family clan would have no means of subsistence, let alone someone paralyzed like her. She would probably starve to death on the street within two days leaving the manor.
When Old Madam arrived and saw her, she was half leaning on the divan and moping listlessly. Her complexion was sallow, hair dishevelled and sunken bloodshot eyes. From her appearance, it was obvious she had not slept at all. When she heard their footsteps, she stiffly turned her head and asked hoarsely, “How’s my elder brother? Is there any news?”
Though she was not of the Marquis’ bloodline, she did grow up with Yan’er. Her affection towards him was unabashedly sincere. Why else would she have risked her life to save him or be this plagued with worries?
After much deliberation, the prejudice and misunderstanding Old Madam harboured towards Yu Xiang partially diminished in an instant.
“Yan’er is fine,” Old Madam spoke gently. “You had a nightmare yesterday and would not let Yan’er leave no matter what. What did you see in the dream? Do tell Grandmother.”
Yu Xiang’s deeply troubled heart was immediately settled down. Under Old Madam closely questioning, she described everything in detail. Yu Pin Yan’s nominal age was sixteen this year and he’d just embarked on an official career. He was ruthless and vicious thus, would antagonize many people. As the one he pledged his loyalty to was the reigning Crown Prince, he would perhaps come across innumerable calamities in the future. If the Yu household did not take her words seriously, and merely regarded her as an annoying troublemaker who deliberately being provocative, then Yu Pin Yan would certainly not have such good luck next time.
After listening to the whole narration, Old Madam deliberated for quite a while before she finally asked, “You really saw a lot of silver ingots plunging into the river?”
Yu Xiang nodded her head with conviction.
Old Madam was dazed for a quarter of an hour. When she finally came around again, she caressed the corner of Yu Xiang’s reddened eye and said in a soft voice, “Good child. Did you not close your eyes the whole night because you worried so much about your elder brother? Have you taken your medicine and your meals yet?”
Yu Xiang shook her head. “Without knowing about my elder brother’s safety, I don’t want to drink the medicine and can’t eat.”
“Good child. Good child…” Old Madam had completely changed her disposition. She patted the top of Yu Xiang’s head repeatedly to comfort her. “Drink your medicine and have your meals, then go to sleep. You must be tired.”
Ma Momo personally went to the kitchen to decoct the medicinal herbs and prepare a meal for Second Young Miss.
Old Madam accompanied Yu Xiang until she had finished her meals. Seeing how she kept yawning, Old Madam got up to leave. When she arrived at the doorway, she turned around and exhorted seriously, “Xiang’er, if you have a similar dream next time, do tell Grandmother. Don’t keep it to yourself.”
Yu Xiang nodded her head in response. She naturally would not keep it to herself as Yu Pin Yan was her only protective talisman.
Old Madam left the room in total contentment. She then caught sight of Cui Ping and Cui Xi standing behind her, and briefed them prudently, “Take proper care of Young Miss. Just look for Ma Momo if there is anything lacking. If Young Miss refuses to drink medicine or eat, you must persuade her. Should you disregard her again like today, you will not be needed in the manor anymore.”
Cui Ping and Cui Xi softly complied. When the group was a distance away, they wiped away the cold sweat beading their foreheads and looked at each other in dismay. How did the Old Madam’s attitude completely change in just one night?
Once Old Madam returned to the main courtyard, she knelt in front of the Buddha statue and recited some scriptures which helped to soothe her tensed emotions.
Ma Momo helped Old Madam onto her feet and carried over a cup of hot tea. After Old Madam was seated, Ma Momo moved closer to ask, “Old Madam, what exactly did Young Miss dream about?”
“This is Buddha’s warning to Xiang’er.” Old Madam casually skimmed the floating tea froth with the cup’s lid in a trance, “If Yan’er…if they did not stop but continued charging ahead, the scene from the dream would have become reality. Those silver ingots are likely the disaster relief that the Crown Prince had brought along. It could be at least this amount…” She extended her palm.
“Fifty thousand liang?” Ma Momo’s jaw dropped.
“Five million liang or maybe more.” Old Madam’s forehead was beaded with cold sweat as she said this. Heaving a deep sigh, she continued, “Fortunately, Xiang’er had warned, so Yan’er did not rush ahead. Otherwise, not only would he have lost his life, the entire Marquis manor would have to take the brunt. Even the confiscation of the entirety of the family’s accumulated resources would not be able to compensate that five million liang!”
Yu Xiang was just an unworldly little girl. How could she have known of Yan’er’s mission or even aware that the Crown Prince carried silver for the disaster relief? She must have truly dreamt about it and the description was meticulously detailed, as if she had personally been at the scene. Old Madam was not the least bit doubtful of her words this moment.
Ma Momo sucked up a mouthful of cold air and trembled with fear. “Five…five million liang?” she stammered. “Oh my mother! Thank you Buddha for your blessing. Thank you Buddha for your blessing!” If the Marquis had died and the manor confiscated, they, being the bond servants, would also not be able to survive. This was truly a narrow escape. A narrow escape!
Ma Momo dashed towards the Buddha statue and gave a bow. She then softly murmured, “The Marquis is right. Young Miss is not a jinx, but obviously his lucky star. Old Madam, you see. In just one month, Young Miss has helped the Marquis evade two deadly calamities. This is too fantastic. If it’s not someone with profound good fortune, how would Buddha warn them through a dream…”
Old Madam went silent for a while and beckoned her hand, “Deliver the two bolts of silk muslin gauze and the stem of the hundred-year-old ginseng from my storeroom to Xiang’er. She is a good child.” She indeed has a good heart. This matter was thoroughly strange in all aspects. Whether it was a blessing or misfortune, they could only wait and see for the time being.
“Ai. Laonu will go now.” Ma Momo did not order anyone but went to handle it herself. These two items were gifts bestowed by the Emperor and were priceless. Old Madam was even reluctant to use them herself, and now she had given them completely to Young Miss. It was evidently she was truly scared this time.
Cui Ping and Cui Xi noticed that Old Madam was paying more attention to Yu Xiang. Though they were indignant, they dared not be as presumptuous as before.
The original version of the past event:
The Crown Prince proceeded to Sanmen Gorge to deliver the disaster relief. However, he met with the landslide halfway through the journey. He was lucky to have escaped death but he lost the eight million liang of the disaster relief and returned in a sorry state. The Imperial Censor censured the Crown Prince as someone not benevolent, thus enraged and was punished by the Heaven which implicated millions of the flooding victims. The Emperor was furious and sent the Crown Prince to the Imperial Mausoleum for penitence and barred the Crown Prince from attending the Royal Court for three years. He then commanded the Fourth Prince to raise more silver liang and proceeded to Sanmen Gorge. The Fourth Prince conducted the mission with unsurpassed capability and handled the disaster relief affairs flawlessly without any mistakes. By the end of the ninth month, the Fourth Prince returned to the Capital bearing the Wanmin Umbrella (an umbrella presented to a popular official as a token of respect and gratitude) and his reputation was greatly boosted, while the Crown Prince was quiescent with each passing day.
Marquis Yongle was severely injured in the landslide and recuperated at home for months. The Emperor vented out his anger on the Marquis. Although he did not strip the Marquis of his nobility rank, he did scrape out all of the Marquis’ duties and relinquished him. Old Madam sold off all the family properties as the compliance punishment and in the end, she was not able to restore the Marquis manor’s prestige again. Marquis Yongle had no choice but to enlist in the army, using his life to try gaining an opportunity for advancement.