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TL’ed by snowflake_obsidian
Edited by Xia
Ch31 – Lotus Flower's Resplendent Tongue Deceives Cold Noodles
Su Tang returned to the general's manor after purchasing a good size pile of items. She was told that Song Shi An had already come home and at that moment was in the study.
It was only natural that Su Tang had no interest in seeing the face of that pan of cold noodles. She merely had Xi Que take the pastry making materials that she had bought, along with some clothes, cosmetic powder, and so on that she carried back to the house. In contrast, Su Tang held a pile of toys in her arms and went to Chang Xin courtyard to find Xuan Zi.
In the study, Xuan Zi was practicing calligraphy while standing at the side of the short desk. Seeing Su Tang come in, he casually glanced and merely lowered his head without acknowledging her.
Su Tang felt surprised, walked over and said, "Hey, why are you ignoring me?"
Xuan Zi still continued making brush strokes and didn't say anything.
Su Tang poked and poked his little head, saying, "What's really going on my little Xuan Zi? Why are you unhappy? Have a look here. I bought so many good toys for you!"
Xuan Zi glanced at the toys in her hands, mouth deflated. "You don't honor what you say!"
"Huh?" Su Tang was puzzled.
Xuan Zi lifted his head and looked at her. He said in all seriousness, "You said that you'd take me with when you go out!"
Su Tang saw his tense little face was grieved and indignant again. She finally understood; he was angry due to this offense! She couldn't refrain from laughing (but) seeing Xuan Zi's red eyes, she again hastily continued, explaining saying, "It's like this, I saw that you were napping after lunch and therefore didn't wake you up. I also feel a stab of guilt. Look. I bought all these good toys as an apology!"
Seeing that Xuan Zi still ignored her, Su Tang again spoke. "How about I make pastries for you this evening?"
Xuan Zi thought for a bit, yet in the end he wasn't able to resist the temptation of good food. His deflated mouth said, "Then you as well will make those little green stuffed buns for me!"
Su Tang saw that Xuan Zi wasn't angry anymore, and had a peal of delight. She hurriedly took out all sorts of toys. Both of Xuan Zi's eyes shone as he watched. He fumbled for this, reached for that, then all of a sudden thought of something. He lifted his head and said, "Daddy's expression wasn't good when he returned in the afternoon. It seemed like he was upset."
When does cold noodles have a good expression?! In the twinkling of an eye Su Tang's heart rate jumped, could it be he was angry about her going out?
Su Tang kept thinking of this even when eating the evening meal. She was completely on tender-hooks, her eyes kept looking sideways at Song Shi An's long face. But she merely saw him engrossed in eating and didn't know what things he was pondering. She couldn't help but be somewhat uncertain.
Xuan Zi also buried his head in his meal, however he wasn't eating rice. He was fully occupied eating little green stuffed buns, and as usual, was eating what was in his bowl. He looked at the pan and saw that there was only one remaining. Must rush in to grab it as Daddy's mouth is big, otherwise there won't be even one mouthful left.
It wasn't easy for Xuan Zi to wait until he had completely eaten the small bun in his bowl. But at the final moment when he totally finished, he watched Song Shi An extend forth the chopsticks. The small green bun was picked up and the entire thing stuffed in the mouth….
Song Shi An expressionlessly ate the steamed bun using proper etiquette. Xuan Zi's mouth was completely deflated as he watched. Afterwards, his head silently lowered and he began to push the filling that had dropped into his bowl a moment ago, to one side….
Song Shi An's frame of mind was not good. He knew perfectly well that the matter of welcoming Pei Rui He was like removing a fly on the wall. He had that sort of disgust though was about to swallow it down. It was truly the sort of thing that angers you to death. As a result, his face was gloomy after returning from court.
Perhaps it was transformed into grief and indignation which affected his appetite. He discovered this evening that he was eating much more food than usual, though that green steamed bun was extremely tasty. Or perhaps it gave rise to a long period of being melancholy, though the delicacies were thoroughly agreeable. After finishing eating, he felt that he wasn't as angry as before..
In any case that clinches things; it would be better to calmly respond.
He washed up and prepared to go to bed but saw Su Tang holding a quilt, sitting on the bed, watching him with an odd expression in her eyes. His brows couldn't help but wrinkle.
Su Tang saw that he finally displayed a little feeling now. She exhaled and smiling said, "You've finally revived from the dead. Look, the entire evening you floated back and forth with a long face. You didn't chat and also didn't utter a single sound. It made people think something borrowed your soul and also consider whether to beckon a spirit to give you, ha ha."
Song Shi An glanced at her, yet didn't say anything. He lifted the quilt about to climb into bed. But looking, he unexpectedly discovered two quilts on the bed.
"That….we'll sleep separately, hah!" Su Tang shifted and shifted her body, thereupon her face turned slightly red. "About our previous matters, let's call it quits as we're even. Even-steven!"
Song Shi An was not in the mood to deal with her nonsense. Soon afterwards he blew out the candle and got into bed.
It was peaceful and still in the glowing light of the moon and stars. However, Su Tang couldn't quite fall asleep. Once more, the matters of that day were going through her head. And she also wanted to figure out the plans for tomorrow. When Zhan Yi's pretty face appeared in her mind, she extended her finger poking Song Shi An's back, and asked "Does the Imperial Court of Justice have a middle level official?"
Song Shi An turned over, his eyes had a complex look. "How do you know that?" Suddenly he recalled something and said, "You went out today?"
"Uhm…." There was nothing the matter with being unable to sleep. Why was he making a mess interrogating her!
Song Shi An didn't see Su Tang when he returned to the manor, and slightly wrinkled his brow. A careful servant saw his mood and had someone go look for shao furen. Soon afterwards, a complete account was given about shao furen going out in the carriage. (At that time) Song Shi An still had the matter of Pei Rui He in his mind and didn't take the matter seriously. Now hearing Su Tang's unexpected question, he couldn't help but remember.
His eyes narrowed upon seeing Su Tang hesitating and not answering. He asked, "Who came looking for you? What did you go out to do?"
Su Tang's brains turned at lightening speed, finally she decided to tell him, "The facts are that person is my shop assistant. Originally he was a little beggar. Quite a few years ago (though) the winter wasn't particularly chilly, he almost froze to death. I gave him food and clothes which let him withstand the frosty winter. From that time on, he considered me his benefactor. I saw that he was outstandingly sensible and extraordinarily intelligent. Soon afterwards I had him enter the shop to serve as an assistant. Later on when I wasn't yet married to you, he wanted to just follow me around. I thought to myself that a man at my side eventually would be problematic….oh, right. He was actually 15-years old still and couldn't be counted as a man. So I viewed him as a younger brother. Therefore, I gave some silver liang to let him to handle his matters. In the end, who would have expected that he was thinking of opening a pastry shop in the capital. These several times he came to ask for my ideas and also to lending him money. Don't worry. I merely view him as a child who just grew up.
And so I thought that looking at a shop for him wasn't going too far. It wasn't much effort to point out the weaknesses, merely went out to buy…."
What is talent? This is talent! in the bottom of her heart, Su Tang gave a big thumbs up!
Speaking lies isn't difficult, the difficulty is that they truly must be the same as truth! In the falsehood is (some) truth, and in the truth is (some) falsehood, both true and false things. And yet if you don't believe it then Song Shi An won't believe it!
For the time being, every word, every sentence was extremely heartfelt, fair and reasonable, with rich significance. She spoke about Xiao Mo's identity, and not only was there an explanation of the entire sequence of events, she cleared up cold noodles doubts. It gave Xiao Mo legitimacy to be at the general's manor from now on….on what basis did Xiao Mo come? Not enough money, the store had a problem and so he asked for advice! She had the opportunity to do an on-the-spot investigation for this consultation!
Oh, howl! She was concerned about this "younger brother"! This is her warmth, her affection! Cold noodles, for the sake of a close female co-disciple you took in and are raising Xuan Zi. That also is warmth and affection! Now you've taken a wife which is also having warmth and affection. What's the meaning of you flaring up in anger, this rebuke shouldn't even be happening!
Ah, ha, ha, ha!
Su Tang was immeasurably satisfied in her heart. But her face was still sincere. She went as far as to have a tiny bit of nervousness and worry noticeable in her eyes. Looking like this, she carefully observed Song Shi An with the semblance of waiting for a minor punishment for making an error.
Song Shi An saw this appearance of hers with his brows extremely knit which was quite unusual. However, he again very quickly switched his line of sight. "Afterwards when something is needed, just let the maid servant go out to purchase it."
….This was accepted as true.
Su Tang naturally wasn't going to overdo things. To take advantage of the opportunity, she got up and moved closer. Her soft voice said, "And there's also another matter I'd like to talk with you about."
Song Shi An hummed, "Ok." (looking) at those two shining crystal clear eyes.
There was disdain in Su Tang's heart. Sure enough he was amenable to persuasion (but not force). The sides of her mouth tucked in a smile, "Xuan Zi sneaking out last time made me think of a problem. He always stays inside this manor which isn't good (so he) always (wants) to go out to look around. You saw that he was really cheerful when we brought him to visit my family."
Song Shi An recalled that when Xuan Zi was together with Su Ming at Su Tang's house, Xuan Zi flourished. He played, smiled, and was lively. Song Shi An deeply approved, only….
Su Tang caught his misgivings and hurriedly said, "I realize that you're also busy with official business and can't take care of little Xuan Zi. Seeing that he now calls me mother, I can substitute for you and speak to his heart. Since I'm also using your family resources without contributing anything, how about I take him out to play every now and then. Is that ok with you?"
Seeing that Song Shi An was about to angrily speak, Su Tang hastily reproached him. "I know that you certainly aren't at ease about the two of us going out. However, I've really thought about this. If we go out then we can sit inside a horse carriage, and also not run all over the place. Additionally, wouldn't it be alright to take along two attendants? All day long little Xuan Zi is cooped up inside the manor which very quickly results in cabin-fever. Going out to see the world will enrich his experience which is also good. And grandma will probably really like him when he becomes more lively!"
Su Tang finished speaking. With an expectant appearance, she blinked and blinked waiting for Song Shi An to angrily speak. The many advantages and disadvantages have been well organized and laid out for you in detail.
And again, I completely cleared away for you all (possible) misgivings. It's (certainly) insufferable behavior for you to again dare to not say even one word!
Song Shi An listened to Su Tang lay out all this logic and didn't speak for a long time. What she said made a lot of sense, yet due prudence he generally felt there must a problem somewhere. He deeply pondered for a while and after discovering there wasn't a hole in the reasoning he then responded with a "Uh-huh."
Su Tang rejoiced greatly. They found a store and afterwards also established a proper and fitting reason to go out. Ah ha, the future looks bright!
At this moment Song Shi An again thought of an issue. "Why did you a moment ago, suddenly ask about an official in the Imperial Court of Justice? You came across one today?
Seeing his scrutinizing gaze, Su Tang's back couldn't help but have a little cold sweat. She pulled (back) the corners of her mouth and said, "How could that be. When I was in Ping city, I heard that the Imperial Court of Justice has some officials who are thought to be a little odd. Anyway previously, I always heard that there are influential deputies. Don't know why I just thought of that a moment ago. At any rate since you are an official, thought I could just ask you…."
Song Shi An drew back his gaze and thought for a bit, said, "Middle level officials, even deputies are of equal importance. But actually these are positions require little or no work and have no real power. Originally the emperor liked Yi Zhi and was keen to make him a government official. But Yi Zhi had no interest in being one and merely wanted to travel around the country. Therefore the emperor specially established this official rank which never existed before, high position, little authority, unnecessary perfunctorily work, receives monthly pay, and do as one pleases, this was given to him…."
Su Tang heard and felt flabbergasted. Unexpectedly she truly underestimated this Zhan Yi Zhi and didn't expect his connections to be this influential. The emperor actually went as far as to specially set up an official rank, and whatever else to allow him to "follow his hearts' desire"….however….
"Yi Zhi? He's called Yi Zhi? Are you very familiar with each other?"
Song Shi An pursed his lips and quite a while later spit out a "Hmm."
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