Chen shi, Who Gave You the Courage
“Worth mentioning.” Feng Jin Yuan waved his hand, “Chen shi, I allow you to maintain this position for a few more years. But Feng manor will no longer provide you with high quality food. The food provided will be handled by mother. From today onward, you will remain in Jin Yu courtyard to ponder your mistakes. You can not leave without my permission.”
Chen shi’s face displayed her unwillingness, as she fervently shook her head.
Giving up on good food, wouldn’t that be the same as wanting her life?
Chen Yu quickly spoke up to remind her: “Would mother please take Chen Yu in to consideration more.”
With these words, Chen shi suppressed all her unwillingness.
This daughter was her future and was her biggest gamble. She could give up on good food, but she could not give up on this daughter.
“Furthermore.” Feng Jin Yuan spoke again, “Jin Zhen has been of service to the head of this house. She will become a concubine and be given Ru Yi courtyard.”1
Ru Yi courtyard was a small courtyard in the manor. An shi had lived in there for a while previously. After giving birth to Xiang Rong, she moved to a larger courtyard. That Ru Yi courtyard was considered to be conforming to the societal norms. It was well-decorated and had a rockery pond, along with some beautiful scenery.
Hearing Feng Jin Yuan arrange it like this, Jin Zhen’s heart finally settled back down in her belly. She quickly kowtowed on the ground and thanked him for his grace.
The matriarch noticed that the presence of a bloodstain on the back of her dress. Her originally angry heart was soothed a bit. Her son was the prime minister. There was only one official wife and three concubines at the manor, which was not very many. Moreover, Yao shi had only just been brought back; furthermore, there were only two sons. This was much too few. If this Jin Zhen worked hard and could birth a stout boy, then the labors of today would not be in vain.
The matriarch’s gaze was noticed by Jin Zhen, and she felt that she could relax a little more. Thankfully, Feng Jin Yuan, at the time, was in a drug-induced deranged state, so he did not notice that she was not a virgin. After that, she had been clever. She pierced her forearm and smeared some blood on her dress. As for the injury, she could pass it off as something she received from Chen shi’s beating.
Each person had their own arrangements. All that remained was the doctor and maidservant, both of whom were still knelt in the middle of the room. Feng Jin Yuan still had some anger left to vent. Seeing the two people, he could not help but unload all of it on them.
“Secret guards!” He roared loudly, “Kill!”
With a single word, a person appeared in the room with a whoosh. With a flash, they disappeared again.
Looking again at the two people, they had actually been decapitated.
The women in the room all began to scream. Even Feng Yu Heng followed the crowd and pretended to scream a few times. But only Han shi stared directly at doctor Xu’s corpse, her heart felt a faint sense of pleasure.
Feng Jin Yuan waved his hand, and two servants immediately entered the room and carried the corpses out. There were also servant who cleaned the ground, and the ground was cleaned in just a few moments. There were no signs of any bloody scene ever occurring in the room; however, there was no way to cover the smell of blood in the air.
Feeling sick, Chen Yu covered her mouth. Chen shi stared at the spot where nobody wanted to step, her heart filled with fear.
This was the first time the members of the Feng family witnessed such a scene. Feng Jin Yuan had never allowed his secret guards to make an appearance before other people. He even more prevented family members from seeing bloodshed. But today he had dealt with too much. He simply wanted to vent and could not consider too many things. After thinking about it a little more, he thought this was also ok. Whether it was Chen shi or Feng Yu Heng, this was considered a deterrent. His official wife was hard to control, and that second daughter might be even harder to control.
“A-Heng.” The matter having been dealt with, Feng Jin Yuan felt that if he continued to ignore the ill second son, it would be too hard to justify. He asked: “Father will immediately send a servant to find a doctor to take a look at Zi Rui’s illness. You and your concubine mother should not be too worried.”
Feng Yu Heng mentally sneered. It was apparent how grand his father’s ambition was based on how he handled the matter with Chen Yu. It had a beginning but no end.
Of course, the Feng family was not benevolent, and she was unjust. This was good.
She shook her head: “Father, there is no need. Zi Rui’s illness has already improved significantly; furthermore, A-Heng herself is half a doctor. This sort of small illness is something I can handle. Seeing such a thing, A-Heng is extremely afraid. I don’t dare let an outsider treat my little brother. I hope father will allow A-Heng to personally treat little brother. I will personally go to Hundred Herb Hall to fetch the herbs necessary.”
Upon mentioning Hundred Herb Hall, Chen shi, who had been seated on the ground, immediately perked up and loudly asked- “What are you going to do, going to Hundred Herb Hall?”
Feng Yu Heng was slightly shocked then replied: “Naturally to go fetch medicinal herbs.”
“Hundred Herb Hall has no medicinal herbs for you!”
Feng Yu Heng tilted her head and pondered before asking Feng Jin Yuan: “Isn’t Hundred Herb Hall concubine mother Yao’s dowry shop? Why would there be no medicinal herbs for me to fetch? Concubine mother Yao said that shop would be given to me as a dowry. When we were in the mountain, we couldn’t handle matters in the capital, but now that we have returned, we must properly take good care of the business.”
Chen shi loudly screamed: “You sure do have nice thoughts! What dowry? That is Feng family’s business. When did it become your dowry?” She had been in charge of the manor for many years. She had long since forcibly taken ownership of the shop the matriarch had taken from Yao shi. Now that they wanted her to give it up, it was as though they wanted her life.
But Feng Yu Heng did not care for these things, “Mother might be remembering incorrectly. Hundred Herb Hall was indeed a dowry for concubine mother Yao from the Yao family, and concubine mother Yao was preparing to add those shops to A-Heng’s dowry. It’s ok if mother does not remember. The government has back ups for the deeds. Going to take a look will reveal if they are the Feng family’s business.” As she spoke, her facial expression became cold. She then turned to the matriarch, who had been in charge of the manor for many years, “That year, grandmother said she would take care of managing concubine mother Yao’s shops. Could it be that grandmother has lost the deed, which led to mother believing the shops to be the Feng family’s business. Wang Chuan!” She turned her head and asked: “If the deed was lost, what do we do?”
Wang Chuan informed everyone: “If the family’s deed has been lost, they can go to the government to look for the deed. After they have found it, a new copy is made.”
Feng Yu Heng nodded: “Then let’s take a trip tomorrow. These past few years, I have not been at the manor, and I did not have the time to clean up those shops. Grandmother truly has been troubled.” In regards to this matter, she negotiated with the matriarch alone. She did not even bother paying attention to Chen shi, “Grandmother, you have put time and effort in to taking care of Hundred Herb Hall these years, A-Heng will remember the good grandmother has done.”
The matriarch opened her mouth, not knowing how to respond. That year, she had indeed taken the dowry from Yao shi because those shops truly made the Feng family envious! Now the Feng family had some sort of foundation, although a large portion of it relied upon the Chen family for support, but that which came from the Yao family could not be lost. Currently, Feng Yu Heng wanted to come and take away the shops. Although she felt distressed, she could not say that she would not give it. Moreover, Feng Yu Heng and Wang Chuan were singing the same tune. If they really went to the government to look for the deed, what face would the Feng family have left.
“How could the deed be lost. Chen shi, go look for it again.” The matriarch spoke up.
Chen shi was really displeased. Especially since the matriarch had called her Chen shi, which made her feel quite uncomfortable.
“I am your daughter-in-law, why does mother-in-law speak in such a distant manner.” She blocked the anger and changed the subject slightly.
“Then how do you want me to call you?” The matriarch brought the cane down, “If you want me to call you daughter-in-law, then put on an appearance worthy of being the family’s head wife! Look at yourself; do you match up at all to the position of Feng family’s head wife?”
“At least I gave birth to Chen Yu!” On this point, Chen shi was particularly proud, “It doesn’t matter what day it is, I am Chen Yu’s birth mother.”
Using these words to block the matriarch, the matriarch had nothing to say. She could only remind her: “Look for the deeds tomorrow. I will give you two days. Once you find them, return them immediately to A-Heng.”
“Mother-in-law, have you lost your mind? After the bride has married in to the groom’s family, dowry shops naturally are taken in by the groom’s family. What logic is there in making something available for the family, then giving it back?” Chen shi glared fiercely at Feng Yu Heng: “No sense of the rules at all!”
Feng Yu Heng’s face sank, as she raised her eyebrows to look at her: “Mother’s meaning is that after a woman marries in to the husband’s family, all of her shops must be handed over?”
“That’s fine. Wang Chuan!” She called again for Wang Chuan, “Go invite the governor of the capital to the manor. If the Feng family’s name isn’t enough, then have Prince Yu’s lady Zhou go invite the lord governor over to Feng manor. Just say that the Feng family’s matriarch, head wife and concubine mothers wish to hand over their shops to the Feng family. From that moment forward, they will belong to everyone in the Feng family and is no longer a personal business. Invite the lord governor to the manor to act as a witness for the elders’ deeds.”
Wang Chuan bowed: “Understood, this servant will leave immediately.” Finished speaking, she turned and left.
“Wait, wait!” The matriarch opened her mouth. She did not dare show her emotions to Wang Chuan. She even more so did not dare begin cursing the servants in front of Wang Chuan and the various guests of the manor. She had to maintain a certain level of politeness and attentiveness when speaking, “Wang Chuan girl, wait for a moment.”
Not only was the matriarch flustered, Chen shi’s face had also become pale. She did not think that she would end up implicating herself as well.
An shi spoke up from the side towards Feng Jin Yuan: “When this concubine entered the manor, my maternal family agreed with husband that the dowry shops would not be given to Feng manor. They would be looked after by me, and they would be gifted to my children. Husband, these were all things you have agreed to. Why is it that the head wife is so stubbornly against this?” An shi’s words placed all the blame on Chen shi’s head. “Furthermore, according to Da Shun’s edicts, when a woman marries in to a family, the dowry shops they receive will be managed by the woman herself. Any profits will also be given to the owner of the deed. The husband’s family may not interfere with the management of the shop. This rule was set down by the Emperor.”
At the mention of the Emperor, An shi glanced at Feng Yu Heng to remind her that this was a fight that she could win.
Feng Yu Heng nodded slightly and expressed her gratitude to An shi.
Chen shi once again cried out, “I did not say that we would also hand ours over. I also did not mention changing the name on the deed.”
Feng Yu Heng’s eyes perked up, a cold light shining forth, she glared at Chen shi. In an instant, Chen shi retreated a few steps in fear.
“Wh-what do are you doing?”
Feng Yu Heng felt that she really should give face to this fat pig, yet when she gave face to the fat pig, she did not want it.
“Your meaning is that only concubine mother Yao needs to hand hers over, but the rest of you don’t need to?” She looked around, her lips forming a sneer, “What sort of logic is that? Wang Chuan! Go invite the governor. The shops belonging to the women of this manor will all be handed over. None of you had better think of hiding any!” Looking again at the matriarch, her facial expression relaxed a bit: “Grandmother, since mother wants them, then you should hand it over as well.”
Feng Yu Heng’s words successfully incited the matriarch’s rage. She glared at Chen shi. Raising her cane, she fiercely stabbed at the other side: “You want my shop? Huh? You said you want my shop?”
Wang Chuan was very good at following along in the play and asked a follow-up question: “Second young miss, then what of the deeds to your newly acquired shops?”
Feng Yu Heng said: “Those were given by his Highness Prince Yu. Since mother wants them, then even if I wanted to keep them, I could not. This time, I will follow along with orders. Giving them to support the Feng family is fine.” She glared again at Chen shi: “Oh right, it should be handed directly to the Chen family because father and grandmother did not say anything. It’s mother herself that wanted these shops. Our Feng manor’s womenfolk should be handed over to the Chen family.”
1: This courtyard is literally called satisfactory/satisfied courtyard.