When the Cat’s Away, the Mice Will Play
The atmosphere was wrong. This was something Huang Quan also noticed, as she saw Han shi’s personal servant, A Ju, screaming at one of the guards while holding a hand on her hip. After shouting for a while, she even reached out and pointed at housekeeper He Zhong: “I say housekeeper He, can you be a little more attentive? This celadon vase is madam’s favorite. It was gifted by master when madam entered the manor! If you broke it, you could not afford the atonement.”
Upon hearing this, He Zhong’s face revealed a helplessness, but he did not want to argue with a servant, thus he only said a few words of agreement: “Don’t worry.” He then carried the vase through the front yard and headed south.
Feng Yu Heng was confused: “I left the manor for just over one month, and the manor already has a new head wife?”
Huang Quan said: “How could that be, prime minister Feng still has not returned. Who conferred the title of head wife?”
“Did you not hear them say madam?” She said this while taking a few steps forward. At that time, A Ju also happened to turn around and caught a glimpse of Feng Yu Heng.
Upon seeing that Feng Yu Heng returned to the manor, A Ju was suddenly stunned. It was as though she had suffered an incredibly large shock, all but turning to run away.
Feng Yu Heng waved to her, “Come here.”
A Ju hated that she could not stand in place, as she did not want to take a single step towards Feng Yu Heng.
The second young miss who had not appeared for more than a month. She had heard that she left the capital, so why had she suddenly returned?
Seeing that the servant did not move the entire time, Huang Quan lost her patience and angrily walked over. Grabbing hold of A Ju’s collar, she dragged her over to Feng Yu Heng.
A Ju’s face paled from fear, as she repeatedly said: “Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!”
Feng Yu Heng smiled and said: “Who said we would kill you? Since when had the Feng manor’s servants become so well versed at speaking and begin inventing stories about the young miss of the first wife?”
“No no no!” Huang Quan let go, and A Ju dropped directly to her knees, “Second young miss, please spare me! Second young miss, please spare me!”
With Feng Yu Heng returning to the manor, the maidservants and male servants who were running around carrying things all gathered around to greet her. She looked at the things in the servants’ hands and became even more puzzled, “Is the manor moving?” After asking, she looked again at A Ju and said once more: “You have taken care of concubine mother Han for many years, and she took care of you without slighting you. Although concubine mother Han’s monthly allowance is limited, and she does not have any shops from her maternal family to supplement her, giving her no way of allowing her servant to be dignified in front of the other servants, you still can not do something like betray your master!”
A Ju was stunned, what did she mean betray her master? “This servant did not betray her master!”
“You still say you did not? You impudent servant. I personally heard it, yet you still dare to argue? Huang Quan, slap her!”
“Yes.” Huang Quan did not care about those matters. Hearing Feng Yu Heng’s orders, she did not say anything extra and picked A Ju up once more. Raising her hand, she began slapping her left and right.
Like this, she slapped her 20 times! How strong was Huang Quan. She struck A Ju so much that she was nearly unable to open her eyes.
Only then did Feng Yu Heng say: “Alright, that’s enough. We still need to leave her able to answer my questions.”
Huang Quan then let out, dropping A Ju to the ground.
The servants who had been scolded by A Ju was extremely happy. Even housekeeper He Zhong, who had returned to the front yard after returning the vase, watched with folded arms, feeling quite good.
A Ju had been bitterly beaten and wanted to cry, but whenever she moved her mouth, it hurt. It hurt so much that she could only lie on the ground and whimper; however, she continued to sob: “This servant did not betray her master. I truly did not betray my master!”
Feng Yu Heng lowered her head and looked at her, “You still say you haven’t? Just now, I personally heard you say to housekeeper He something about madam. If you are still following Han shi, why would you be doing work for madam? Huh? That’s right, when did a madam come to our manor? Such a large matter, how come I don’t know anything about it?” She said this while turning to ask He Zhong, “Housekeeper He, what exactly is going on?”
Hearing Feng Yu Heng ask, He Zhong quickly trotted over and saluted, saying: “Replying to second young miss, master still has not returned to the capital, so how could a madam have come to the manor. A Ju was speaking of concubine mother Han.”
“Concubine mother Han?” Feng Yu Heng laughed, “Even a concubine can be called madam. Where have the Feng family’s rules gone?” She loudly raised her voice, as she glared angrily.
A Ju’s entire body trembled in fear, as she truly feared that she would be killed by this second young miss out of anger. But she also felt wronged. She had been doing her best to work for her master, but she did not see any benefits, but how did she end up in this mess? Han shi had been called madam for a while, and the matriarch did not seem to say anything. Why would the second young miss become angry upon returning?
Thinking like this, the servant acted recklessly and raised her head. With a bruised face, she said: “Second young miss, concubine mother Han is already pregnant with master’s child.”
“Oh!” Feng Yu Heng suddenly laughed, “She finally managed to conceive a child?”
A Ju did not understand what this meant and could only nod. But she heard Feng Yu Heng say: “Then I need to go take a look and check concubine mother Han’s pulse while I am at it. I must see if her fetus is stable or not.”
A Ju felt her heart drop upon hearing this. She saw that Feng Yu Heng had already begun walking towards the inner courtyards. This scared her into hugging Feng Yu Heng’s leg, as she said in a panic: “No need, no need. We do not dare trouble second young miss with this. The manor has already called for a doctor.”
“Let go!” Huang Quan kicked A Ju’s shoulder, sending her quite a distance. A Ju nearly coughed up blood from being kicked.
Feng Yu Heng acted as though she did not even see it, as she spoke for herself: “My medical abilities are good. I have even taken care of his Majesty’s imperial body. Concubine mother Han being able to have me see to her is her good fortune. Why is a servant like you stopping your master from receiving such good fortunes? Even if Han shi has treated you slightly poorly in the past, you still must think about the Feng family’s child.” She said this while walking, “Do not stop me again, otherwise I will not be responsible if my servant kicks you to death.”
A Ju did not dare say another word, as she stood up and wanted to run in the other direction.
He Zhong glanced at her then chased after Feng Yu Heng, anxiously saying: “Second young miss, concubine mother is no longer living in the previous courtyard.”
“Oh?” Feng Yu Heng glanced in the direction A Ju ran towards. Turning around, she also walked in that direction, “She even changed her courtyard?”
“Yes.” He Zhong said: “The day before yesterday, fourth young miss told elder madam that their courtyard was too quiet and secluded, and the amount of sunlight it saw was limited. She wanted to go to the large courtyard in the South.” He Zhong said this while shaking his head, helplessly saying: “In truth, how could their courtyard not get enough sunlight. Previously, master doted on concubine mother Han the most, so the courtyard she gave her was much better than the one given to concubine mother An, but it was a little smaller.”
Feng Yu Heng curled her lips into a smile, “Then which courtyard has she moved to now?”
He Zhong said: “It’s the Yu Lan courtyard next to the former Jin Yu courtyard. Concubine mother Han felt that Jin Yu courtyard was too unlucky, otherwise she could have directly moved in to live there.”
Huang Quan could no longer endure listening, “Truly something a despicable person would do. How come elder madam did not advise her to move into Jin Yu courtyard? Who knows, maybe Chen shi’s ghost could come out at night to chat with her.”
He Zhong also laughed but did not say anything. Instead, he kept his head down and continued to lead the way.
Ever since Chen shi and Feng Zi Hao both passed away, the manor’s Jin Yu courtyard and Jian Ling pavilion had become deserted areas. Normally, only maidservants and guards were left to keep watch over them, but nobody wanted to go inside. But because Chen shi and Feng Zi Hao’s standing within in the manor had been extraordinary, they were both in the best location. Living in that sort of location, it more or less made clear their standing within the manor.
Thinking about it, Han shi wanting to live in Yu Lan courtyard should follow this logic.
Under He Zhong’s guidance, Feng Yu Heng entered Yu Lan courtyard for the first time. There, she saw maidservants bustling about. There were so many people that it was even more lively that the matriarch’s Shu Ya courtyard.
“Because concubine mother Han became pregnant, the elder madam specially advised for more people to take care of her.” He Zhong explained to Feng Yu Heng, “These maidservants were all taken from other courtyards. In a little while longer, even more will be brought in from outside the manor.”
Hearing him say this, Feng Yu Heng noticed. But of course, each of these servants seemed familiar. There were some from An shi’s side, some from Feng Chen Yu’s side, some from Jin Zhen’s side, and there were even some people from Shu Ya courtyard.
He Zhong took a few steps back and bowed, saying: “Their house is in the inner courtyard. It is inconvenient for this servant to remain, so I will be leaving first. Second young miss, please be careful.” After saying this, he took another few steps back then quickly left.
Huang Quan smirked and said: “To actually tell young miss to be careful. Is Han shi capable of eating people?”
Feng Yu Heng did not say much, as she stepped towards the courtyard. The servants who had been busy in the yard quickly went over to pay respects upon seeing her.
But when they went to pay respects, they stopped their work. At this time, they heard a she-wolf’s voice begin to shout “How come you’ve all stopped? Do you not want to eat? Everyone get back to work!” Following this, the sound of a whip cracking sounded out. That whip struck a young servant’s back. The whip struck the back, causing blood to flow out.
The servant did not have a chance to defend herself. She was both frightened and in pain. The porcelain plate that had been in her hand fell to the ground and broke into eight pieces.
“Ah!” The she-wolf angrily rushed over. Staring at the broken plate, she repeatedly stomped her feet: “Oh no! How valuable is this thing, and it was actually broken by a slut like you! I absolutely must beat you to death!” Saying this, she began beating the young servant.
Huang Quan sighed in shock: “Where did Han shi find such an old thing? She truly is brutal in her actions.”
Feng Yu Heng, however, anxiously said: “Quickly go help! That is Xiang Rong’s personal servant Mei Xiang.”
Hearing her reminder, Huang Quan then noticed. Of course, the girl who was being hit was the third young miss of the Feng family’s personal servant, Mei Xiang.
Because Xiang Rong and Feng Yu Heng had a close relationship, Mei Xiang often went with Xiang Rong to Tong Sheng pavilion. Because this was Han shi’s courtyard, Huang Quan did not think of this at first. Adding on how her attention had been focused on the she-wolf, he truly did not noticed the servant who was being beaten.
Now that she recognized it was Mei Xiang, Huang Quan angrily rushed over in a few steps. Raising her leg, she kicked towards that person’s chest, causing the woman who was nearing 50 to fly quite a long distance.
Feng Yu Heng walked over sullenly to Mei Xiang’s side. When the girl saw that Feng Yu Heng had come, she began crying.
She gently patted Mei Xiang’s shoulder and comforted her, saying: “Don’t cry. I have returned. I will not allow you to suffer any grievances.”
Mei Xiang nodded. The pain from her back caused her face to turn white. It was a cold day, so the clothes were thick, yet blood was still visible. This meant that granny had some skills.
Feng Yu Heng felt that person was unfamiliar, so she walked over and asked her: “What courtyard did you originally serve in?”
The old woman had been unable to get up for a long time after being kicked by Huang Quan. Feeling a fishy sweetness in the back of her throat, she desperately suppressed it to avoid it coming up.
When she looked at the person who asked her the question, she subconsciously wanted to begin angrily cursing, but she had suffered some internal injuries, which made it difficult for her to begin cursing. Secondly, she suddenly recalled that Han shi had secretly told her that the most fearsome person in the manor was not the matriarch, nor was it the other concubine mothers and daughters of concubines. It was the one living in the neighboring Tong Sheng pavilion.
The person before her… She was given a start, as a cold sweat broke out all over her body.
“You are… county princess Ji An?”