“Dad, what do you mean?” Née Yao was confused by what she was hearing.
Yao Chenggu shoved the bank notes into his robes and grasped his pipe again, methodically packing it with tobacco. “Isn’t our biggest problem now that the child in née Qin’s belly might not be Dafu’s?”
The shoe dropped and née Yao abruptly understood her father’s meaning.
“Dad, you mean…” She paled.
Yao Chenggu took a long pull on his pipe and narrowed his eyes, not following up further.
Née Yao sank into deep thought next to the heated platform. “If Dafu finds out about this…”
“Don’t you know how to handle things cleanly so he won’t find out? The girl’s child is of unknown origin and it would only be an eyesore if she delivered it. Since the Qins are a willful family and Dafu needs such a father-in-law, not to mention that the emperor decreed the marriage…
“We cannot divorce née Qin. Given the situation, we must ensure her cleanliness. A child can be had at any time. They can have more in the future.”
“But… the girl is not yet eighteen. What if this impacts her health and she is no longer able to bear child?”
“Is Dafu never to take concubines?”
The more she looked upon her father’s benevolent expression, the more unswerving Née Yao’s resolve became.
“You’re right, dad. As a mother, I must be responsible toward my son. I cannot allow his bloodline to be sullied with doubt and suspicion. I will think of a way to handle this matter. Dad, you—”
“The dowager madame has returned!” came a maid’s voice from the courtyard.
Née Yao immediately stopped talking and her mother shot through the door curtains half a breath later. Her brows were furrowed tight and she demanded as soon as she saw the two, “Where are the bank notes?”
“Mom.” Née Yao stood up.
Startled, Yao Chenggu was about to ask how née Ma knew them when his wife swiped his pipe with a quick gesture. She dumped the ashes in the spittoon, grasped the pipe with both hands, and broke it over her thigh. The jade mouthpiece and bronze pipe body split into two with a sharp crack.
Née Ma furiously threw the pieces to the ground. “Try smoking now, will you!”
“What in the heavens has gotten into you!” Yao Chenggu bounded to his feet.
Née Yao also drew close to calm the situation down. “Mom, what are you doing?? Why have you suddenly broken dad’s pipe…”
“Shut up and get out of my way. On your knees!” Née Ma smashed her hand across née Yao’s face and left a swollen red imprint.
Née Yao held her face and looked incredulously at the older woman. “Mom, why did you hit me?!”
“Because I need to! You damn chit with a crooked heart, wasn’t I clear enough last time?! Look at what the two of you did today!” Née Ma pushed her daughter off to the side and pointed an accusatory finger at Yao Chenggu. “Yao, I know what you’re plotting. I’ve spent decades with you and I know the shape of your shit when you twitch your leg!
“You listen to me and you listen good! Don’t even think about it and return the in-laws’ silver as soon as possible, or don’t blame me for what I do next!”
“You damn woman!” Yao Chenggu slammed his hands on the table in a fit of rage. “This is complete lunacy! Don’t forget who’s the head of the household!”
“Head of the household?? Do you want to say yourself? Hah! This is the prince’s residence with the men taking charge outside and the women ruling the inside. Dafu is the head of the household and the princess consort is the matriarch of the inner residence—that’s lass Yi!
“Who do you think you are?! Put away those base and dirty thoughts of yours! I’ve always lived a good and clean life, so to think that I’d marry someone as crooked as you!”
“How am I crooked?! I have Dafu’s best interests in mind and what’s wrong about worrying that he’s raising another man’s child??”
“Dafu isn’t a fool, do you think he doesn’t know if that’s his child or not? Any other family would be overjoyed by the addition of a great grandchild and sharing a roof with their in-laws. But you two, you two are never satisfied!
“Do you know how much of her dowry the lass spent for Dafu on their aid mission?? If it wasn’t for that silver, the emperor might’ve punished Dafu long ago! The venerable Sir Qin spent these days protecting and hiding us, how dare you turn around and demand three thousand silver from him?! Do you have a heart??”
“When did I demand that from him?? He gave it to me! And why did we have to go into hiding? It’s because Dafu had to go find Qin’s dear daughter! Qin is supposed to protect us after that!”
“Listen to that bullshit coming out of your rotten mouth! Do you not know why Yining was kidnapped? The Qins haven’t taken us to task for that, but you carry yourself like this. Your blasted brains were kicked by a donkey!” Née Ma smashed her palm down in her fury and shattered the heated platform to pieces.
The platform cracked into multiple sections and its legs also broke. Compared to the thumps that Yao Chenggu had given it, née Ma was erupting in the full glories of yesteryear and didn’t seem affected by old age at all. If her blows had landed on a person, she would’ve at least broken bone.
Née Ma leveled a finger at her husband’s nose. “None of you Yaos are anything good! Your heart is crooked and so you raised a girl who knew nothing but to climb into her master’s bed at a young age! She’s still a brat at forty and only knows how to vie with her daughter-in-law. What kind of heaven forsaken things are you two?!”
Beet red with humiliation, Yao Chenggu pointed at née Ma with shaking hands. He tried, but failed, to find the proper words and it was even more unthinkable to return his wife’s blows. He’d never won when it came to a contest of strength between the two.
Née Ma jerked him up by the collar and fished out the three bank notes.
“I’m going to return these and I warn you, don’t think of getting up to no good! I just told Dafu that I’ll be moving to Pineheart Garden as soon as I pack my things. I’ll be staying with them until my great grandchild is born, so don’t you think of doing anything or I’ll skin both of you alive!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
That was a treat to translate, lol. Go née Ma!