The Rebirth Of An Ill-Fated Consort


Chapter 46

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h.e.l.lo folks! While working on this chapter, we realized that we’d made a slight error in translating one of the characters’ name – Shen Ming Zhu is actually Shen Ming Zhen. So hereby, editing the name in this chapter as well as the prevoius ones.

Chapter 46: Settling

The Shen fu was so big, it was indeed impossible to locate a little unnamed servant girl. Jiang Ruan's statement was not without reason, but it irked Shen Ming Zhen and left her at a loss for words. She quietly cursed Jiang Li, then glared at Jiang Ruan and sat down uncomfortably.

Jiang Su Su continued smiling unperturbed as she held her tea cup and sipped from it slowly. Her eyes quietly followed Jiang Ruan, whose expression had not flickered even for an instant. Tendrils of steam from the hot tea curled in front of her beautiful face, making it seem as if one were looking at a flower through the fog; her emotions were hard to discern. Jiang Su Su's heart lurched and she began to feel a general sense of unease. She could only pretend to be unaffected as she chatted gaily with the other young ladies around her.

Jiang Ruan's safe return meant Jiang Li had not gained any benefit. Shen Ming Zhen gestured for another servant to come over, who, after hearing her instructions, then left in a hurry. After a while, Jiang Li and Xiao Cui walked over to Jiang Ruan's side. Jiang Li's face clearly showed her fury as she stood right in front of Jiang Ruan and asked angrily, "How did you manage to come back first?"

Lin Zi Xiang could not tolerate the scene before her any longer. Without waiting for Jiang Ruan to reply, she said with contempt, "Whatever the situation is right now, Jiang fu is the great household of a government official. How can there be no sense of social standing, where the shu meimei dares to treat the di jiejie with such flagrant disrespect?"

Her words were not spoken in a soft tone, so the furen from official's families in the vicinity each turned to look at them. Jiang Li immediately turned red and her anger boiled over. She heard Jiang Ruan smilingly say, "It's nothing, we sisters do not observe that many social conventions, Li niang is just a little anxious, that's all."

Lin Zi Xiang frowned. "If this were to occur in my fu, that person would have been thoroughly disciplined."

This time, Jiang Ruan did not say anything and only smiled faintly. There was no trace of anger in her features, and so, some people were unable to discern her intentions. Jiang Su Su stood up and laughingly said, "What's going on? Da Jiejie has just returned from the rural manor and is not clear on some things. Third Younger Sister is still young, Da Jiejie need not be bothered by her."

It was not Jiang Ruan's intention that Jiang Su Su should use this situation to her advantage. However, now it seemed that something was Jiang Ruan's fault. Some of the surrounding furens and young ladies who were unaware of the inside story looked at Jiang Ruan with strange expressions, seemingly believing that Jiang Ruan had really been harsh with her shu mei.

Jiang Ruan smiled and looked unblinkingly at Jiang Su Su. The mesmerising gaze of Jiang Ruan's upturned eyes made Jiang Su Su feel numb, and her back subconsciously stiffened. In her heart, Jiang Ruan laughed bitterly. Jiang Su Su had always adopted a fairy-like persona to carry out her good deeds. Even in her previous life, just before the very last stage of her life, and before she had been condemned to prison as one who had brought disaster to the nation[1], Jiang Su Su was constantly comforting and advising her to be meek and patient. How did she become so different in this life, unable to remain calm, and even deliberately mentioning that Jiang Ruan had just come from the rural manor so that everyone would keep their distance?

[1] Huo guo yao nu ( 祸国妖女 ) – a beautiful woman who brings disaster or misfortune to the nation.

Could it be that, just as her own personality was different in this lifetime, Jiang Su Su's personality had also changed? Or, had Jiang Su Su been like this all along, and it was her own trusting nature that caused her to turn a blind eye to Jiang Su Su's deadly words and intentions?

Lin Zi Xiang eyed Jiang Su Su coldly. Her demeanour was haughty, and not only was she not trying to conceal her dislike for Jiang Su Su, she even snorted, "What a fake person!"

Stunned, Jiang Su Su forced a smile, and did not speak. In this way, it appeared that Lin Zi Xiang was using her position to bully Jiang Su Su, who was happy to compromise so that everyone would benefit.

Lu Zhu, standing behind Jiang Ruan, almost could not keep the smile from her face. Lin Zi Xiang was indeed amazing. In such a place, among such people, she dared to take Jiang Su Su down a notch so brazenly. Surprisingly, not a single person dared to call her to account. Jiang Ruan smiled slightly and said, "It's all because I didn't make myself clear to Li niang earlier. Li niang, just now, I waited for you for quite a while but you did not return. I was afraid that Mother might be worried. I just happened to meet a little servant girl and she led me back here first. That little girl was supposed to go back and inform you of the situation. What happened? Didn't you meet her?"

Jiang Li huffed angrily. Naturally, she had not met the little servant girl that Jiang Ruan spoke of. However, it also seemed improbable that Jiang Ruan was lying, as it was her first time at the Shen fu, and there was no way she could have retraced her steps so easily. Thus, it happened that the machinations of Shen Ming Zhen's camp were nothing but a fruitless thought. Shen Ming Zhen was provoked into unhappiness for no good reason, and Jiang Li was once again fiercely cursing Jiang Ruan silently. In a rather indifferent tone, she said, "If Da Jiejie was unwilling to wait for meimei, then so be it. Saying all this is of no use."

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Jiang Ruan remained silent, and still smiling, sat again at the side. As the onlookers observed her conduct, their previous speculation was confirmed right then. This Jiang fu's di daughter was nothing at all like the descriptions Jiang fu itself had propagated. After her return, she had failed to gain favour to the extent that even a shu younger sister would engage her in such a provocative and retaliatory manner. In all likelihood, she probably found the day-to-day life in the fu quite challenging, which in turn had honed her capability to be tolerant to such an exceptional degree. She was not at all petty and small-minded, as someone from the countryside might be. Neither was she weak and cowardly in the slightest, nor was she argumentative. Instead, she was magnanimous, very much befitting the demeanour of the eldest di daughter.

"I heard that the criminals in the prison were treated quite unjustly, thus, their relatives sent pet.i.tions to the capital on their behalf. As it so happened, they were received by one of the top-ranking officials[4], who immediately investigated and discovered a long history of misconduct of justice, as Qian Wan Li had taken many bribes[5]. The grievous cries of the prisoners for justice were so overwhelming that they could not be suppressed easily; the entire city was humming with the news. The emperor was so enraged that he immediately dismissed Qian Wan Li and even wanted to search his residence and confiscate all of his possessions."

[4] Ming guan ( 明官 ) – We’re a.s.suming this was a 朝廷明官 (chaoting mingguan), a high-ranking official appointed by the Emperor who could escalate reports without being constrained by legal or administrative procedures. Information gleaned from 'Relationships between the Chinese Central Authorities and Regional Governments of Hong Kong and Macao: A Legal Perspective' by Zhenmin w.a.n.g.

[5] Hei xin qian ( 黑心钱 ) – lit. 'black heart' money.

As Jiang Ruan followed the rippling movement of the water in the silver basin, she could not help but think of the young widow she had met that day in the prison and hoped that she would receive compensation for the injustices that she had suffered. The heavens did indeed mete out appropriate retribution, and sometimes, it was not without reason.

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Translated by : shl

Edited by : Anks & Ely

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