Née Ma’s expression fell as soon as the two left.
“Yuping, what did you mean by that just now?”
“What are you talking about, mom?” Née Yao looked at her mother with resignation.
“Lass Yi's just joined our family and politely offered you a cup of tea and shoes that she made herself. What kind of airs were you putting on just now? She’s the apple of her family’s eye, is she to speak softly and keep her eyes trained on the ground in front of you?”
“Why would I ever want that, mom? I can’t dote on her fast enough.”
“I bet you want her to! Lass Yi said that she’ll have questions for you and wants to borrow Missus Zhao—but that’s because she’s kindhearted and mature. She was afraid that you, her mother-in-law, would find it too embarrassing to send your people to your son’s household. That’s why she decided to ask for one herself.
“But just look at your reaction, putting on airs like that! You think no one knows what you’re thinking about? Are you afraid that your daughter-in-law will set herself on the opposite side of you?”
Her innermost thoughts revealed, née Yao was none too happy. “Mom, why would I be afraid of that? I’m just worried about her not being handle things properly, since she’s newly come and all.”
“Enough with that. I gave birth to you, so how would I not know what you’re thinking of? You’re afraid that if your daughter-in-law is too smart and takes control of the household, you won’t be able to keep her fully under your thumb if you two fight in the future.”
Née Ma’s rejoinder fully unveiled née Yao’s thoughts for what they were. On the sidelines, Yao Chenggu puffed noncommittally on his pipe, oblivious to the conversation between mother and daughter.
“Mom, when getting to know someone, we only touch upon their exterior and not their heart. It’s not like I don’t like her, and I definitely don’t want to make things difficult for her. We just need to be on our guard a bit, that’s all.”
“Be on our guard?” sneered née Ma. “You have a crooked mind, that’s what. You’ve been touched by ugly habits after working in those large noble houses. It’s a display of skill to scheme against outsiders, but doing the same to your own family? Must you make life so difficult for yourself?
“What’s wrong with the child? I think she’s perfectly fine. She’s mature and knows when to retreat or advance. Do you think your little bit of plotting was well hidden? Even a straight shooter like your mother could tell, do you think someone as smart as the lass wouldn’t have been able to? It’s a mark of her good rearing that she didn’t say anything!”
Née Yao’s ears burned hotly from the criticism, but she still didn’t think there was anything wrong about her caution.
Her son was her only support, and he was currently frolicking in the honeymoon period. How could he possibly hold onto his bottom line in front of such a beauty? As his mother, she naturally had to keep an eye out for her son.
Née Ma snorted disdainfully when her daughter remained silent. “You don’t need to be stubborn about the situation. Though lass Yi had a hard childhood and didn’t enjoy the luxuries of home, the Qins were a great aristocratic house back in Great Yan. Her father personally taught her many things, so her character will naturally be a good one.
“I heard Dafu say that the lass was in charge of the inner residence even before she married out. If you really are afraid of your power being taken away, I have to say that everything we have now will belong to the children in the future. No matter how tightly you hold onto things, do you think you’ll be able to take it with you to the next life?”
Now beet red, née Yao wished ardently for a hole in the ground to dive into. Yes, her mother’s words made good sense, but she just couldn’t control her feelings!
Née Ma shook her head to see her recalcitrant daughter thus and wagged a finger. “You Yaos are all too conniving. You think you’re oh-so smart and can calculate everything beneath the heavens, but one thing you can’t calculate is the human heart.”
Seeing that the fires of battle had burned his way, Yao Chenggu protested with resignation. “What’s this about me now? Lecture our daughter, but don’t drag me into things.”
Née Ma couldn’t be bothered with bickering with her husband. She turned to call Mi-mama over. “Visit the Park of Resplendent Radiance often and bring some nutritious soup or whatnot for my granddaughter-in-law. Also see if anyone’s bullying her. If so, come back and tell me and see how I take care of that troublemaker!”
Mi-mama smiled merrily. “Dowager Madame, these words aren’t orders for me at all, but another lecture for your daughter.”
Née Ma glared at née Yao and harrumphed.
The latter was both resigned and amused. Perhaps she really was in the wrong. Her mother was a straightforward and frank individual, and her eye for character was never wrong.
Maybe she really was thinking too much.
Qin Yining and Pang Xiao took a carriage to the palace.
“My darling, are you mad?” Pang Xiao asked carefully as he took his wife’s hand.
Startled, Qin Yining responded, “What makes you say that?”
“Are you mad because of how my mom was just now?”
“How would I be?” The girl chuckled. “Mom is very good to me. She just gave me a very high quality jade bracelet. I’ve only just joined the household and aren’t familiar with the elders at all. Everything will be fine after we get to know each other. Don’t speculate wildly and make it like mom’s bullying me.”
The prince heaved a silent sigh of relief to hear this.
No matter who was right and wrong in the affairs of yesteryear, née Yao had raised him. It wasn’t easy for an unmarried woman to take care of a child alone. It would’ve given rise to some regret if his wife and mother didn’t get along. Likewise, he would also feel regret if his mother didn’t like his wife. Thankfully his darling was a magnanimous soul and his mother not a silly person.
Just like his darling said, the days ahead were long and all would be better once everyone got to know each other.
Deep in conversation, the two arrived at the palace doors before long. They exchanged vehicles for a smaller carriage with wallpapered with wax paper and headed for the Hall of Moral Cultivation.
“Finally! We’ve been waiting for you. The empress dowager just asked about the two of you,” declared Li Qitian congenially.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Whew, I'm glad no crazy mother-daughter-in-law drama developed! You guys know how common that is in novels like these...