The Feast

Chapter 20

> > The Feast – Chapter 20

Chapter 20: Single Snake Battle Formation

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: I’m going to do my best to see if I can put out at least a chapter every two days. Admin and I have informally agreed not to trespa.s.s into each other’s territory and this is a slight violation of our agreement. However, at this point, I will be very happy to receive a scolding email from Admin…

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On wards to the story!

"Eh, this…one man's meat is another man's poison. Is it possible that Su Nuan Nuan just likes sunning beans at the entrance?" Actually, Duan Tingxuan was aware that Su Nuan Nuan is full of evil intentions. However, since he had eaten her sweet You Ping that morning, he did not mind spending a couple of words in her defence.

Xu Ran Yun's phoenix eyes narrowed slightly. The reason why she had not revealed everything from the beginning was because she wanted to find out the depth of her husband's true feelings. Now that she had found out, her heart can't help but sink: Looks like Yang Tai Tai was right, G.o.d knows why but the lord had taken interest in the three women at Mei Yue Lou, enough to improve their pitiful living conditions. This can not be a good thing.

Her gaze gently swept towards Concubine Jiang who had, until then did not say a single word. As soon as their eyes met, Concubine Jiang knew her role and leaped up to say. "Did master regret it? It looks as if master can't stop talking about Big Madam? If that's the case, then master really shouldn't have banished them to Mei Yue Lou in the first place. Her anger seems to have gotten even more potent, what should we do now?"

"Who said I regretted anything? I was just being thoughtful…this…people have different types of hobbies after all, right?"

Duan Tingxuan tried to cover his lame excuses by speaking with a loud voice. Actually, ever since he'd eaten those fragrant dishes at Mei Yue Lou, he bitterly regretted that day's hasty decision more than once. Now he wanted the three of them back to the inner court, but was too ashamed to say so.

Moreover, he could not bear to admit his own mistake here, right in front of his own wife and concubine. When it comes to the matter of face, a prince must never own up to any mistakes no matter what, if he had to become a dead duck then so be it.

Xu Ran Yun was felt infuriated by her husband's stubborn dead duck's expression, and said with a cold smile. "What is my lord yelling about? Please don't vent your shameful frustrations at us sisters here, go and direct it at Big Madam. Who do you think those beans are for? Heh heh! Surely it's not prepared for this lowly one? Big Madam don't even know when I'm coming. I'll tell you frankly, those beans are prepared especially for you, that trap is created with you in mind. What 'one man's meat is another man's poison', what 'Big Madam likes to sun beans at the entrance', what 'thoughtfulness', I almost laughed to death at these words."

"What? A trap for me? It can't be." Duan Tingxuan jumped up like a cat whose tail was stepped on, shaking his head like a rattle, "It can't be, this can't be. I just sent them some rice and beans this morning, at that time Hong Lian and Xiang Yun were all very cheerful, so why…"

The prince paused without finishing his words, feeling that it's best that the rest of these words remained in his heart. As expected, the wife before him had eyes as large as gold fish's, mouth dropped open so wide that she could probably swallow a whole chicken's egg. Clearly, she was very shocked.

Without waiting for him to utter any face saving words, Concubine Jiang's high pitched voice suddenly said. "Master, what are you saying? You've been to Mei Yue Lou, and even gave them things?"

"Ahem…that…isn't this having thrown them there for half a year, having suddenly thought to take a look because I was worried they'd starve?" Duan Tingxuan answered a little mechanically. His face sank as he felt that his image as a majestic and dignified husband collapsed in the eyes of his wife and concubine.

But then he hardened his resolved and decided to go on the offence. He gave Xu Ran Yun a serious look. "This an oversight on your part as well, Ran Yun. I heard that it's been a long time since they received their allowance."

Xu Ran Yun began to panic a little, her head drooped slightly as she said. "Does my lord blame me? As mentioned, there are many things to take care of, and Mei Yue Lou is far away, it easily slipped my notice. What kind of a person is my lord? Have you ever considered that this day would not have occurred if my lord did not send them over to Mei Yue Lou? What was the reason you sent them to that place? And yet, here you are blaming me."

Duan Tingxuan was not really angry in the first place, seeing Xu Ran Yun with her head down he felt that he should not pursue the matter. At any rate, the mistress and servants living at Mei Yue Lou seemed quite comfortable. So comfortable that it made his teeth ache.

He stood up and walked a few paces, then thought of what Xu Ran Yun had said. Unable to resist the urge, he turned a black face at her and said. "What you said is true? Nuan Nuan's bean trap…was set up for me?"

"Could it possibly be false?"

Xu Ran Yun saw that her husband was still stuck on this ridiculous route, and could not help her cold smile. "If my lord doesn't believe me, you may ask her yourself. From what I can see, she has no fear of people. Earlier, I and a few other servants were there when she grandly declared that she is not afraid of you, and that the bean trap was prepared just for you. If it did not come from her mouth, would this one would dare to frame her?"

Duan Tingxuan, whose face was now as black as the bottom of a soothy pot, couldn't help himself as he angrily stamped his foot: "That bossy woman is getting too much, watch how I take care of her." So saying, he flicked his sleeves and left.

At this point, Concubine Jiang breathed a sigh of relief, only to hear Xu Ran Yun gave a cold laugh: "Heh heh! I knew it would turned out this way. Since that woman has acted in such an outrageous way, the lord would not just let this matter go. Otherwise, he'd not the lord any more."

Concubine Jiang also laughed, "Isn't it? Our master may be a l.u.s.ty sort, but he had never let a woman climb over his head. Even that Madam Lan whose beauty could shatter cities also could not turn him into the docile sort. A bossy, jealous woman like that could never stand a chance. This is great, Madam can now rest easy."

"Amithaba, let us hope so." Xu Ran Yun muttered as she pressed her palms together. From this behaviour, it was clear that she has underestimated the impact of delicious food on a closeted foodie, otherwise she would never have imagined that this little interference could ever remove future troubles.

As for Duan Tingxuan, when he rushed out of the court, the sun has already reached the tip of the mountains. Normally this was time when he was supposed to go and greet his parents and grandparent, however he has more pressing business today. After getting a maid to send his excuses to his grandparent and parents, he set off for Mei Yue Lou.

When he reached the entrance to Mei Yue Lou, he saw that chairs and tables had been arranged on the balcony. Su Nuan Nuan was sitting at one of the chairs, chatting with Xiang Yun and Si Ping. Even though she clearly saw him, she did not bother to stand up to welcome him, instead she just smiled at his direction, her mouth busy chatting about this and that. Xiang Yun and Si Ping both looked a little anxious. The smiles on their faces obviously forced and looked more miserable than an actual crying face.

Was such an abnormal sight a hint of what's to come?

After exchanging a few blows with Su Nuan Nuan, Duan Tingxuan immediately heightened his awareness and took a bold step in. His foot slipped a little. At this point, he remembered Xu Ran Yun's words, and felt rage growing in his heart: Very well, this d.a.m.ned woman, looks like you haven't given up your ways. So you've set your trap, but did not bother to change it even though it has been exposed. Clearly you lacked forethought in your rush to trap this lord of yours, you think this lord is so stupid?

The prince was getting angry: You dare look down on this lord? Hmph! Intolerable, this time I must let you know my power, otherwise I shall follow your surname.

Though many things went through his mind, it actually happened in a flash. Duan Tingxuan stubbornly did not look at his footing. With eyes glaring at Su Nuan Nuan he sedately entered the courtyard step by step. The beans that have been trodden by him all turned into bean powder.

Clearly not expecting Duan Tingxuan's martial power to be this extraordinary, Su Nuan Nuan's face showed pure astonishment. Duan Tingxuan felt proud of himself. So you want to set traps for me, hmph! Hmph! So you want to flip the heavens and set traps, for what? To kill your husband? If I do not teach you a lesson today, wouldn't you just climb to the top of my head? Unacceptable, I can't indulge this bad habit of yours.

Thinking about it, he had a feeling that today he will finally get the opportunity to vent his frustrations on some righteous actions. As he was feeling pleased with himself, his gaze suddenly caught Si Ping's anxious face and felt a chill down his spine. He was about to stop his advance, but it was too late.

The sole of his foot touched something hard. A soft sound of a sensitive spring went off.

At this critical moment, Duan Tingxuan's finely honed martial arts, which he had spent years polishing every single day showed it's best impact. In a flash, his body sailed to the air, flipping twice before finally seeing the mechanical device he had stepped on. He landed in a safe spot, cold sweat beading his brow. Turning around, he saw more than ten mousetraps glittering like frost on the ground, they were laid out in a line, their mechanical jaws open wide as though they were jeering at him.

"You crazy woman." Duan Tingxuan flashed up to the balcony like lightning. He pointed a finger at Su Nuan Nuan's nose, yelling, "Just because I ate some of your food you want my life? Setting up just one trap was not enough, you even put up mousetraps in a Single Snake Formation, you…don't go too far."

The earlier surprised look may have been fabricated, but Su Nuan Nuan's current astonished admiration for this rascally man was clearly real: Such a well calculated trap was avoided by this man, more importantly, was that the legendary qing gong?

When she thought of this, her eyes lit up like hungry wolf’s. She stood up with a warm smile. Without so much as a 'by your leave', she grasped both of Duan Tingxuan's hands, shaking it like she had just seen her most beloved relative.

Her face quivered, her voice excited as she said, "What was that skill just now? Eight Step Trapping Cicada? Single Reed to Cross River Jiang? Collect Duckweed to Cross Water? Tiny Steps Over Waves? Three Swallows Raid Water? Cross Snow Without Footprints? Aiya, what was it? Come let's chat together about it."

All Duan Tingxuan could do was blink, and blink some more, unable to trust his eyes as he stared at this crazy excited woman in front of him. He stammered, "You…you don't think you can just confuse, I'm…I'm telling you, you…today have provoke…provoked me…this matter is not resolved, so don't think just because you're so friendly that…hm? What's that smell? Did you stewed those two ducks?"

Si Ping watched as his master did his best to reprimand Big Madam, though it was not going well, it still held some air of manly dignity of the head of house. Who knew that the man he worshiped suddenly switched character in the middle of his words. Master, you should at least finished what you have been saying, do you really think that Big Madam suddenly ingratiating herself to you is a good thing? And why did the topic suddenly turned towards the two ducks?

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