Née Yao flushed beet red from the lecture. She didn’t know how to respond.
Words tumbled out like spilled beans from the furious née Ma. She recounted past deeds with relish.
“You think you’re so smart. Do you take everyone else for a fool? You never listen to me! I didn't want you to be a maid in a noble house to begin with—it’s not like we couldn’t afford to raise you. But you wanted to go out and see the world. And then what? Your entire life was affected!
“Look at what you were boasting about a while ago, how you’ve seen too much of those heartless old hags in the old Pang Manor to do anything they ever did. You said you’d never be an evil mother-in-law, but look at what you’re doing now!
“Our Dafu may be in a high position and wield a lot of power, but how many families in similar positions would actually marry off their daughter to power?
“Minister Qin is a modern Zhuge Liang. He chose us not because of Dafu’s power. The minister himself will be joining the council in the future, does he need to trade the apple of his eye for power?
“Just look at the ridiculous mess your son’s caught up in! He’s a good child alright, but anyone marrying him will suffer no end of fear and fright.
“Have you forgotten how it felt to worry at home whenever he marched out with the army, constantly afraid that some accident would happen? There are so many enemies staring at Dafu’s back, and His Majesty’s one of them. Have you forgotten when we were brought into the palace as hostages?
“Look at things now. They walked into the palace with their own two feet on the second day of their marriage, but lass Yi came back carried by others. Do you really believe her when she says she’s short on blood? That’s her being mature and not wanting her elders to worry!
“Your son is such an awful match and the lass has suffered so much right after joining our family. But instead of treating her well, you fight her for attention! You’re more than forty years old, can you grow up already? When will you be more sensible??”
Née Ma fully vented her feelings, both angry and bittersweet when she recalled the past.
She was a straightforward and frank sort who’d never hurt a fly. Naturally, she despised those with a crooked heart. Yet her daughter was precisely this kind of person!
Was she evil? Not quite, she didn’t actually commit any villainous acts.
Was she kind? She’d come back from the noble house with the schemes and tricks that should stay in families like those. The perspective with which she considered things was vastly different from before.
Tears trickled down when née Yao heard her mother start the litany of crimes with being a maid in the Pang household. At the end of the all, she wept like a child.
“Mom, even if I did wrong that year, I really couldn’t help myself. I’ll tell you the truth—I liked Pang Zhongzheng. But we’re just an ordinary family, so what else could I do other than be his maid? Though I didn’t get a proper place in the family, I had Dafu! He’s my son with my loved one!”
“And that’s some sort of proper logic to you?” Née Ma looked incredulously at her daughter. “You like someone, so you go be their maid? And then you volunteer to be their bedwarmer?”
Her hand itched to fly over in a hearty smack on the cheek, but quick-witted Yao Chenggu stopped his wife.
“Alright, alright. It’s been so many years. It’s now thanks to Dafu that our days are looking up. There’s nothing bad about this. And we’re talking about the lass now, aren’t we?”
Née Ma huffed angrily at her daughter and bit off, “What else is there to talk about with the lass? She's earned enough bad luck for eight lifetimes after marrying into our family and getting you as her mother-in-law. No wonder your son’s setting himself against you! The mere sight of you makes me angry!”
Née Yao lowered her head from the censure, further irritating her mother. Née Ma charged outside and grabbed a stave in the yard, spinning and mock-attacking with gusto. The wind howled as the stave danced like a tiger.
Only father and daughter were left in the house. Née Yao sniffled, “Dad, you be the judge of this all. Is mom right when she says all that? Setting aside Dafu’s matter, have I shorted the Qin girl on anything?
“I didn’t say I wouldn’t give her the verification tokens. It’s just that she’s just joined our family, so I should have some time to judge her character, no? But look at how Dafu did things! He almost split our family in two! He’s turned into that king of the Shang Dynasty after bringing a beauty home, the one who lost himself in drinking and women to the abandonment of everything else! Dad, wouldn’t you be mad at this!”
Yao Chenggu took a long pull on his pipe and shook his head. “You can’t say it like that now. There are places where you did wrong as well. Having joined our family, the lass is one of us. You know Dafu’s eye for people. If she really wasn’t a good sort, would our Dafu fall in love with her, being how smart she is?
“Didn't you hear what Xu Weizhi and the others said? They say she’s very smart, that she can accomplish great things even without strategists by her side. The plan she thought of to help Dafu was better than any that his followers and strategists came up with. With such a wise wife, why do you keep butting heads with her?”
Grievances filled née Yao when she heard this. “Dad, why are you helping outsiders as well? You don’t care about my sadness at all.”
“Outsiders?” Yao Chenggu tapped his brass pipe on the edge of the heated platform. “She’s part of the family after she crossed the threshold. You need to treat her like your own child from the bottom of your life. You don’t have a daughter, so it’s like you suddenly gained one. Isn’t that good? The lass is also a very likable child.
“If you keep thinking this way and keep viewing her as an outsider, then I say one day Dafu will also treat you like an outsider.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Wise words from the elderly couple all around!