I Do Not Fear Because Nobody Dares
Feng Yu Heng was called over to Shu Ya courtyard not long after returning to the manor. When she arrived, she heard the matriarch say to everyone who had arrived before her: “Starting today and without exception, I will be spending my mornings and nights at the temple to pray for Jin Yuan’s fortune. We will move the time for paying respects to before lunch.”
Everyone said in unison: “Yes.”
Chen Yu said: “It would be better for every courtyard to recite prayers at least once each day. There are many snowy mountains in the North. Father’s safety is most important. We can not help with anything else, but we must have at least show this much concern.”
The matriarch agreed fully with these words, nodding repeatedly, “Chen Yu is correct.” As she said this, she finally gave Chen Yu a look of approval and saw that Chen Yu was touched.
Seeing that Feng Yu Heng had arrived late, the matriarch did not say much; however, after paying respects, Feng Fen Dai said: “Second sister is still just an unmarried girl, yet you have the courage to get in a carriage alone with another man in broad daylight. Do you not fear being gossiped about?”
Feng Yu Heng glanced at her with an expressionless face and a cold gaze “I’m not afraid because nobody dares to.”
Fen Dai suddenly shuddered. She felt that Feng Yu Heng’s gaze was able to completely see through a person. This caused her to immediately recall the person at the entrance of Hundred Herb Hall from earlier in the day. In reality, she did not even know that person’s name; however, she did remember how she had interacted with him. She also recalled how she had hidden in a corner and watched as Feng Yu Heng revived a dead person while resolving all of Hundred Herb Hall’s crises.
Today, she originally wanted to send someone over. She even thought of dealing with that person completely. Unfortunately, that was not possible. Huang Quan had gone to send him. She did not believe her own shoddy maidservants were capable of avoiding Huang Quan’s detection.
Fen Dai recalled this matter, and her mood could not help but become a bit irritable. Feng Yu Heng, however, chose the moment when her mood was most unstable to say: “With the heavy snowfall a few days ago, who knows if our houses in the suburbs have been struck by the disaster. Fourth sister has lived in those houses. What do you think their situation will be?”
The handkerchief Fen Dai was holding fell to the ground, as her hands trembled. The maidservant at her side bent over to pick it up, while she calmed her nerves before saying: “It’s the middle of Winter, and there are no crops being grown there. Even if it was struck by the disaster, the losses would not be great.”
“That is true. Either way, it is just a few servants who are guarding it. When have the lives of servants ever been worth anything to fourth sister.” She stared at Feng Fen Dai, as though she were chatting about daily life, “The time fourth sister spent living in the suburbs, was it alright?”
Fen Dai’s heart was filled with panic, fear and anger. Muttering, she said: “Naturally it was not as good as you living here at home.”
Feng Yu Heng, however, shook her head: “It’s not as good here either because there is always someone outside who is anxious about something.” As she said this, she suddenly smiled, “Fourth sister will be eleven after the new year. After another year and a half, it will be time to discuss marriage. Now that our manor currently does not have a head wife, I as the daughter of the first wife must begin to think things through for younger sister. Don’t worry, second sister will remember to say a bunch of good things for you.”
Once she said these things, Fen Dai and Han shi were both startled, as they both remembered that under the circumstances of not having a head wife, she as the daughter of the first wife and future official princess of Prince Yu, she had the power to manage the marriages of the daughters of concubines.
The two glanced at each other, and Han shi saw a look of warning and urgency in Fen Dai’s eyes. She moved a hand to her belly and could only silently hope that she was able to put up a bit of a fight. She hoped that she was able to become pregnant.
“If that is the case, many thanks, second sister.” Fen Dai was not reconciled and said these formalities, but she could not hold back and added: “The manor can not be left without a head wife the entire time.”
Feng Yu Heng nodded, “That’s why I need to make good use of time and get fourth sister’s marriage planned out before a head wife is brought into the manor.”
“Everyone shut up!” The matriarch suddenly slammed a table and glared fiercely at Feng Fen Dai: “As a younger sister, you are not respecting your elder sister to the first wife. She says something, and you rebut. This is undisciplined!”
“But second sister…”
“I told you to shut up!” The matriarch was furious and wanted to begin beating people with her cane. Unfortunately, her back was still not well, so her arms could not exert much strength. She tried a few times, but she could not get her cane up to a decent striking angle. In the end, she just tired herself out.
Feng Yu Heng quickly stood up and went forward: “Grandmother, you absolutely must not get angry. Fourth sister is still young and is simply saying childish things.”
The matriarch saw that Feng Yu Heng had come to massage her back and felt a bit more calm in her heart, “It truly is you who is most understanding. Of your sisters, none of them allows me to feel at ease.”
Chen Yu and Xiang Rong both adapted to the situation and stood up, bowing to the matriarch and saying: “Granddaughter will definitely learn carefully from second sister. Grandmother, please be at ease.”
Fen Dai stubbornly bowed too, but she could not get the words out of her mouth.
The matriarch got angry from seeing this and waved her hand: “Dismissed. You are all dismissed!”
Everyone stood up and left in a line. Feng Yu Heng remained and took medical plasters, which she had prepared in her medicine storage room earlier, from Wang Chuan’s hands. She then handed them to granny Zhao, “These are for grandmother’s use over the next few days. Now that it is Winter, a back injury can not be treated sloppily. There is no need to worry about wasting them. Just keep applying them on time every day.”
The matriarch happily nodded, “Ever since A-Heng returned, my back has improved day after day.”
She had no intention of remaining at Shu Ya courtyard too much longer. Although the matriarch still desired to chat with her a little longer, Feng Yu Heng was first to say “Granddaughter must return to prepare to recite prayers for father.” With this, she was successful in her escape.
Upon returning to Tong Sheng pavilion, she immediately told Wang Chuan: “Starting tomorrow, the county princess’ main office will be closed to visitors for seven days. Regardless of whether they are people from the outside or from the Feng manor, nobody is allowed to enter or exit.”
Wang Chuan did not ask why, directly saying: “This servant will go inform the other servants. Young miss, please do not worry.”
Feng Yu Heng did not say anything else before heading straight into the medicine storage room.
That night, the matriarch prayed at the temple in Shu Ya courtyard. Because her back was not well, she simply sat in a chair across from the shrine while chanting.
After the jade beads in her hand had made 15 laps around her hand, the sound of her chant suddenly stopped. Turning her head, she asked granny Zhao: “Why do I always seem to hear something outside?”
Granny Zhao helplessly said: “It’s fourth young miss and concubine mother who are watching a play. They invited a troupe, and they are performing right now at the flower-viewing garden.”
“What?” The matriarch was extremely shocked, “Watching a play? How can they be so unbridled?”
Granny Zhao faintly sighed, “Apparently, concubine mother sent someone to advise them against it, but they were cursed away. Fourth young miss said that master has only gone out on a business trip and has not gone to sacrifice himself. She said that the atmosphere in the manor was grave and inauspicious.”
The matriarch was stunned then pondered to herself for a while before nodding, “Although it sounds bad, the reasoning is still reasonable. Jin Yuan is out and busy, so we can not make any mistakes. But…” She thought for a while then said: “Tomorrow is the 15th, right?”
Granny Zhao replied: “Yes.”
“Notify all of the courtyards that starting from the 15th, they will be eating vegetarian food until Jin Yuan returns.”
The play at the flower-viewing garden did not only caused the matriarch to feel uncomfortable. This also caused Ru Yi courtyard’s Jin Zhen to feel irritated.
At this time, she was leaning next to the gate as she always did while looking outside repeatedly. Previously, she would always stand here waiting for Feng Jin Yuan at this time. When Feng Jin Yuan arrived, he would always say “What are you doing standing here on such a cold day” which she would respond to by being spoiled “When husband is here, this concubine does not feel cold.” But yesterday, she was unable to see Feng Jin Yuan, and today was even more of an impossibility.
Man Xi helplessly comforted her: “Master went out for work, and he did not cast only you aside. Isn’t everyone waiting for him now? Don’t cause damage to your body by catching a cold.”
Jin Zhen faintly sighed. She suddenly felt that without Feng Jin Yuan at the manor, she felt quite empty. At the time Feng Yu Heng went missing, she was quite distressed, but it was never to this degree. Feng Jin Yuan, in the end, was her husband. He was the one she settled down with. In truth, she sincerely hoped that the father and daughter could reconcile. Feng Yu Heng was too smart and was too lucky. What if there came a day when Feng Jin Yuan was defeated at her hands. What should she do?
“Man Xi.” She subconsciously spoke. She originally wanted to ask Man Xi what she thought of the relationship between father and daughter, but just as she was about to ask, she felt it would not be good for something like this to reach Feng Yu Heng’s ears. Thus she quickly changed it to: “Help fetch me a cloak. Let’s go to the flower-viewing garden to take a look.”
The flower-viewing garden could be considered the center of the Feng manor. It was a garden filled with wintersweet and had a stage in the very middle. The people of the Feng family would normally come here to watch plays.
When Jin Zhen and Man Xi entered the flower-viewing garden, their movements became lighter. Sneakily walking towards the stage, she stopped roughly ten steps away from Han shi then hid behind a wintersweet shrub.
Man Xi was extremely puzzled, “If you want to watch the play, then go over and watch it normally. Since concubine mother Han arranged for the play to be presented here, it means everyone in the manor can go over to watch.”
Jin Zhen shook her head upon hearing this, “Han shi hates me too much, so how could she invite me to watch a play with her. I just came over to take a look and will leave in a bit.”
At this time, Han shi and Fen Dai, this mother and daughter pair, were seated facing the stage. Sipping tea and eating eating melon seeds, their eyes were filled with laughter, as they watched the man on the stage. Jin Zhen took a look at the performer and felt he was extremely charming. Her heart even trembled when she looked at him. She then looked at Han shi and saw that her eyes were practically glued to him.
Jin Zhen was a servant raised by the Feng family. She had a good understanding of the concubines in the family. Han shi was originally taken in from a brothel. How could a person like that become accustomed to days of peace and tranquility. Previously, Feng Jin Yuan had been at the manor, so she did not dare act rashly. Now that Feng Jin Yuan had left the capital, Han shi was immediately unable to endure and brought in an acting troupe on the same day.
“She truly does not know how to be honest.” Jin Zhen’s teeth itched with anger, “Didn’t husband only stay one night with her, yet she believes she has regained his favor?”
Man Xi hastily covered up her mouth and said: “Keep your voice down. It’s over if we’re heard.”
“I know.” Jin Zhen looked once more towards the stage and saw the performer had no clue where they were in the play; however, he kept making flirtatious looks at Han shi.
Han shi’s iconic laughter grew louder. It was both charming and aggressive. Even Fen Dai giggled along with her.
Not to mention Jin Zhen, even Man Xi could not bear to continue watching. Reaching out, she tugged Jin Zhen’s sleeve, “Let’s go. This sort of play is not worth watching.”
Jin Zhen nodded then glared at Han shi and Feng Fen Dai once more. Only then did she turn and prepare to follow Man Xi back.
However, she did not think that her movements would be a bit wide, and her sleeve would clip one of the shrubs. The sound of her clothes rubbing against the shrub caused Han shi’s servant to immediately become alert and loudly call “Who is there?”